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H.R. Giger   "Master of the Fantastic

Hans Ruedi Giger was born on the 5th of February 1940 in Chur, a village in Switzerland. Chur is situated in the east of Switzerland, in the area called 'Graubunden'. It was here that Giger grew up and attended to nursery school. Later on he went to the so called 'model-school'. In this Model-School the education was given by teachers still in practice. For Giger this meant a whole lot of fun during the six years of education and he never had to do homework. Of course this was not very good for the quality of the education and this began to form a problem during his higher education.
The first few years in high school went pretty well. Giger became friends with the head of the school who learnt him how to model, draw and create and build theater pieces. Giger even brought his model-train to school so during the break the other students as well as the teachers could play with it. Due to this the breaks often were longer than planned.

In the final year of high school Giger failed and that was something his parents could not accept. They moved to Lausanne were Giger attended his first English and Italian lessons. wir atomkinder The English lessons are from all the lessons he attended the only ones he did not have wanted to miss. The English also proved to be very useful during his later career.

Giger his father was a very intelligent, authoritarian but sweet man. giger's father He was doctor and pharmacist with his own pharmacy at home. His father was a very reserved but honest man who always helped everyone who needed help. Although Giger helped his father in the pharmacy he never knew him well.

His father always thought that children of intelligent parents couldn't be intelligent themselves. He therefore was glad with the fact that Giger showed a talent for drawing and always accepted and stimulated this. Because Giger did not do well in school his father decided to send him to an architect in Bunder. This way Giger would learn a good occupation and would be able to manage in difficult times. Giger became an architect. In his heart he wanted to become an artist but his father did not allow that. In Chur the word artist was often used as abusive word meaning alcoholic, 'loser' and retard. wir atomkinder His mother shared his fathers opinion but also believed it was important that Giger felt happy.

In 1959 Giger his work was published for the first time. Underground magazines like 'Clou', 'Hotcha' and the school-newspaper of the school in Chur published "Wir Atoomkinderen, which Giger drew on the back of calendar pages. Although Giger didn't earn any money with it, he felt very satisfied. He was registered as an indoor-architect in the phonebook, but his life seemed to turn in a complete different direction.

Li, 1974 In 1966 Giger met Li Tobler during her drama study at the drama studio of K. Rellstab in Zurich. Li was a very beautiful woman and stayed Giger his partner till she died in 1975. Li often posed as a model for Giger during their life together, which resulted in a series of paintings of Li. biomechanoid II, 1976During the same period Giger created the paintings 'Birthmachine', 'Underground' en 'Astroneuchs'.

In 1969 H.H. Kunz , a good friend of Giger, published several of Giger his paintings in poster size and distributed them worldwide. The result was that Jorg Stummer included two silk-screen prints in his catalog through which Bruno Bischofberger published the silk-screen print series landscape 2, 1973Biomechanoids’. From that moment on Gigers career developed itself rapidly. In 1971 the first catalog of his work was published and in 1972 the Kasseler Kunstverein organized an exhibition of an overview of Giger's work, including e.g. his 'Passages' and his ‘landscapes’.

Friedrich Kuhn and H.R. Giger In 1973 Friedrich Kuhn died, one of Giger his best friends. Friedrich Kuhn was one of the greatest artist of Switzerland. Kuhn and Giger developed a dear friendship based on respect and admiration. Just before his death Giger had made a series of photos of his friend, hommage a friedrich kuhn showing the 'magician' on his favorite couch. Giger created the painting Hommage à Friedrich by manipulating one of the pictures with a paint brush.

In 1974 Li got bored with acting and decided to open her own gallery. She also organized exhibitions of Giger his work in her gallery. In 1975 Li was overtaken by a heavy lethargy and commits suicide with a gun. Because of her death which ended their nine year relationship, a huge emptiness originated in Giger his life.

During this period Giger met many other artists. One very important meeting was the meeting with the artist Dali. Dali looked at the work of Giger from a different point of view than Giger was used to. Through his meetings with Dali he realized he also made surrealistic art. This was a major influence in the development of Giger his own viewpoint regarding his work.

alien 3De many meetings with different artists influenced the life of Giger also in a different way. Before these meetings Giger mainly concentrated on painting. Due to the many meetings his attention now also became focussed on other art disciplines, like sculpture and décor. This caused a major change in Giger's life!

Due to Giger his surrealistic point of view he created very special decor pieces and figures. In 1977, during his first trip to the United States, he was asked to develop the monster for the science-fiction movie 'Alien'. In 1978 Dan O'Bannon found a strong producer for the movie and the Alien project started. necronomicon

The somewhat sad period of Giger his life halfway the seventies seemed to end. Besides the Alien project Giger was asked in 1976 to work on the 'Dune' movie project as well and in 1978 his Necronomicon was published in several languages. During this same period Giger also met Mia Bonzanigo, the second great love in his life.

erotomechanic III, 1979 In 1979 the Alien producer finances a series of 6 Alien silk-screen prints, signed and numbered to thank the sponsors of the movie. Giger and Mia were send to the European Premiere in Nice as troubleshooters. After Nice they were sent to London, Paris, New York and finally after a long trip they ended in Hollywood. After this trip Giger and Mia got married.
Like his first wife Lia, Mia also posed as a model for Giger many times during their life together e.g. for ‘ Erotomechanics.

One year later Giger received an Oscar for 'Best Achievement for Visual Effects' debbie harry (blondie) I, 1981regarding his contribution to the Alien movie. During the Oscar event Giger met Debbie Harry, who was known as the singer Blondie. Blondie asked Giger to design the cover for her new album. Giger accepted and after that a lot of other pop artists followed her example. During the same period, around 1980, the Penthouse magazine published Giger his erotic paintings which was a great success.

The marriage of Giger and MIA ended after one and a half year. Although they got divorced they stayed good friends.

n.y.-city II, 1987In the course of this period Giger visited New York many times. He got inspired by this city and in 1981 he created his de N.Y.-City schilderijen.

In 1985 Giger was asked to design a series of horrorscenes for the movie Poltergeist II. Right after the start of this project Giger realized he was working on the wrong movie. He wasn't satisfied about the way in which his ideas were used in the movie. The story itself didn't appeal to him and he was afraid for the quality of the final product. Nobody had informed him about the Alien II movie project that started about the same time. He rather would have worked on the Alien II project. Although the Poltergeist movie was a great success in America, it kind of failed in Europe.

In the meantime people got more and more interested in Giger his work. Extensive exhibitions of his work were organized all over the world.

japanese excursion II, 1986Especially in Japan the interest in Giger his work was growing. He was asked to design the decor for a Japanese movie, which he accepted, and in 1988 the Japanese translations of the books Necronomicon I and II as well as Alien was published. Japan also planned to publish posters of his work and in Tokyo they wanted to start a Giger-cafe.

1990, the year in which Giger celebrated his 50th birthday, was a very important year for him. He received many new assignments e.g. designing the scenery of the Alien III movie and a lot of exhibitions were held. In the same satan I, 1977 year Giger his Biomechanoid was used as main character in the movie 'The mystery of San Gottardo'. Together with this movie they designed a book which was a mixture of comic book and illustrated novel, with of course the Biomechanoid as main character again.

For many people Giger is a living legend. He always knew and knows exactly how to express his fears and interests in his work. His work therefore reflect many interesting concepts and ideas.
Nowadays he works and lives in Zurich in Switzerland.

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