Creative, and oft controversial artist H.R. Giger passed away on the 12th of May, 2014. Giger is most famously remembered for his design work for Ridley Scott’s Alien, creative work on Dune, and the first publication of his artwork that inspired the Alien creature: Necronomicon (1977). How will the world get on without the man that made things like this?
Giger’s fascination with sex and the machine resulted in a “biomechanical” representation of the two in much of his work, something that often makes the audience of his work uncomfortable and squeamish, which is not unlike watching Nine Inch Nails Happiness In Slavery (1992) even after the umpteenth time of seeing it. What Giger was able to do was to unite the flesh with the machine, not only in his meticulously airbrushed paintings, but also in sculpture, and design. The phallus appears and disappears, orifices open, are penetrated, and are closed as the machine and the flesh become one in his series Passage Temple. Perhaps it’s the mechanization of sex or the act made visible that makes Giger’s body of artwork so controversial and his audiences so squeamish, but it’s one fascination of the artist that cannot be ignored while viewing his work.
Giger’s artistic skill was not lost to the comforts of societal norms, but was accepted through film, album covers, notably Debbie Harry’s KooKoo (1981), two bars, and a museum. Not long after the news of Giger’s death artists like Vincent Castiglia, Chet Zar, Alex Pardee, Jonathan Wayshak and many, many others recounted their memories of Giger as a great man and artist, but most of all as an inspiration, which is, I am sure, something that he will remain for all artists.
The number of stories and videogames that borrow from Giger will surely only grow. He literally set the baseline for realistic hostile aliens, as you can see in Nintendo's Metroid vs Samus Aran.