Giger RIP

H. R. Giger, the Swiss artist most famous for inspiring and later designing Ridley Scott‘s iconic Alien, has died at the age of 74 after suffering a fall in his Zurich home on Monday.

Giger’s Xenomorph design saw him win an Oscar for Visual Effects in 1980, but represents only a fraction of his contributions to the weird and wonderful side of popular culture. Throughout his career, he was famous for creating dark, verging on sordid, but always impeccably executed surrealist paintings, often depicting human-machine fusions – an artistic style Giger himself aptly described as “biomechanical.”

His influences on popular culture were many and varied, and saw him design numerous album covers, among them Debbie Harry‘s striking solo effort Koo Koo, which shows the singer’s face impaled with spears, Emerson Lake & Palmer’s 1973 album Brain Salad Surgery and a poster inserted into the sleeve of The Dead Kennedy’s’ LP Frankenchrist. The latter attracted particular controversy (perhaps not a huge surprise given its name), as the image is made up of, quite literally, rows and rows of penises. This caused the band’s vocalist, Eric Reed Boucher, aka Jello Biafra, to be tried for distributing harmful material to minors in 1986, though the case was dismissed, going down in history’s hall of fame for “stupid court cases.”

Speaking of halls of fame, just last year Giger was also inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame (which, as a sidenote, has to be the coolest hall of fame of them all) in Seattle, along with fellow inductees David Bowie and JRR Tolkien.

Fans of Giger’s work can visit his museum in Gruyeres, Switzerland, which, alongside his own paintings and sculptures, displays works from his very own art collection, featuring Salvador Dali, Dada and Ernst Fuchs, among others.

Whether you love him or loathe him, it would be difficult to overestimate the impact Giger’s work has had on the visuals of modern science fiction, and how impressively his works inspire both disgust and adoration entirely simultaneously. A true feat, indeed. RIP, Giger – there’ll never be another like you.

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