HR Giger – Featured Artist Festival Ars Electronica 2013


Few artists can claim to have made a major impact on popular culture. HR Giger is one of the few. After all, he’s responsible to a very great extent for the pictures that come to mind when we imagine aliens. At TOTAL RECALL – The Evolution of Memory, Giger is the featured artist.

When Ridley Scott’s film “Alien” exploded onto the silver screen in 1979 and proceeded to scare the living shit out of millions of moviegoers worldwide, HR Giger was still a relatively unknown visual artist and painter. But his nightmare visions and frightening dystopias, his biomechanical machines and creatures would sink their hooks to become firmly embedded in the mainstream and beyond.

Inspiration for Alien: Necronom IV (1976)

As a creative artist, Giger is first and foremost a painter, although he employs a variety of tools, and brushwork isn’t his métier. He uses sophisticated airbrush techniques to create his works. “His art—and this is characteristic of fantastic art—draws upon the anxieties and obsessions of his childhood, and these coalesced in the early 1960s with humankind’s collective fears of global thermonuclear war and of being victimized by technological progress.” (Andreas J. Hirsch, curator)

Gebärmaschine (1967)

Li II (1973/74)

But Giger’s influence goes far beyond the pictorial representation of aliens. The dark depictions he created have inspired hundreds of artists and filmmakers. These images were present at the birth of cyborgs, cyberpunk and, ultimately, films like “Matrix.”

Mutanten (1975)

Atomkinder (1968)

A retrospective of Giger’s work will be running during the festival (September 5-9) at the LENTOS Museum of Art in Linz. The opening of the exhibition is already on the evening of September 4th, on September 5th, starting at 2:30 pm, HR Giger is going to lead a tour through the exhibition, together with Gerfried Stocker, Stella Rollig and Andreas Hirsch.

Deep Space will host a showcase of Giger’s pixel images accompanied by commentary from the master himself, this is happening on Friday, September 6th at 4:15 pm. A visit is certainly worthwhile, and not only by sci-fi fans, though visitors should bring strong nerves and be prepared to be shocked by some of the things they see!