H.R. Giger. Photo ©Annie Bertram 2008

H.R. Giger is one of the most iconic and recognized artists of the 20th century. With his unique, dark and surreal style, Giger’s work transports us to a Universe full of hybrid mechanical beings, post-apocalyptic landscapes, hidden symbols and monochromatic images that seem to come out of a nightmare. He is also known for being the father of the most feared space creature of cinema, the monster of the acclaimed film ALIEN: The Eighth Passenger, which has become one of the most famous elements of popular culture throughout the world.


His work in that film made him worthy of the Academy Award for best special effects in 1980. His extensive work covers painting, sculpture, architecture, drawing and industrial design. Deep, enigmatic and versatile, Giger is a clear example that genius can take inspiration from many places, including our deepest fears.


Hans Ruedi Giger was born in 1940 in Chur, Switzerland. The son of a pharmaceutical father, Giger grew up in a country that still suffered the ravages of the postwar period. Perhaps this was what caused him to suffer from night terrors during his childhood, having nightmares full of machines fused with human bodies, images that would later serve as inspiration for his graphic work, since he was interested in illustrating his dreams since childhood.

Giger studied industrial design and interior design at the School of Applied Arts. In 1963, he was already producing his first works of art and in 1966 he made his first exhibition, which consisted of ink drawings, illustrations and sculptures. Shortly after, in 1972, he discovered the airbrush and developed his own style, perfecting the technique for which he is internationally recognized today.


His work is strongly influenced by artists such as Ernst Fuchs, Francis Bacon and Salvador Dalí, who later became one of his closest friends and who praised his work naming him “the future of surrealism”. Giger was also a great admirer of the work of supernatural terrorist H.P. Lovecraft, leading him to the creation of important pieces such as his book, The Necronomicon of H.R. Giger.


Giger’s work caught the attention of several film directors, including Alejandro Jodorowsky, who invited him to participate in the film adaptation of Dune, as a character and scenery designer of what would be the director’s most challenging film.


His important presence in popular culture attracted several musicians such as Emerson, Lake & Palmer and Debbie Harry to illustrate the covers of their records, and his renowned sculpture “Nubian Queen” was replicated at the request of singer Jonathan Davis of the nu metal band Korn, to serve as the support for his microphone.

Magierin hr giger en mexico
Magierin (in collaboration with Walter Wegmüller), 1973. Pencil and acrylics on wood. 131 x 60 cm

Giger’s work has been exhibited in various museums such as the Halle Saint Pierre in Paris, the Kubo Kutxa Room in San Sebastian, the Lieu Unique in Nantes, the National Technical Museum in Prague and the Kunsthaus Wien in Austria. It has also traveled through Germany, Finland, Spain and Russia, and for the first time in history it will arrive to the American continent with his exhibition “Alone With Night”, whose doors will open to the public in Mexico City from December 4, 2019 to March 31, 2020.


H.R. Giger, died on May 12, 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland, leaving an invaluable artistic legacy, which has influenced countless visionaries, artists, musicians, filmmakers, architects and anyone who comes to witness his work.