Artist Profile: H.R Giger.

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"Some people would say my paintings show a future world and maybe they do, but I paint from reality. I put several things and ideas together, and perhaps, when I have finished, it could show the future." -H.R Giger

Hans Ruedi "H.R" Giger (February 5, 1940 – May 12, 2014) was a legendary swiss artist who created the aesthetic basis for what became the iconic Alien franchise. 

Often steeped with gothic hypersexual symbolism, his work has not been without controversy, some even going as far as calling it perverse and pornographic.

"Some people say my work is often depressing and pessimistic, with the emphasis on death, blood, overcrowding, strange beings and so on, but I don't really think it is."

In spite of these claims, Giger has received universal acclaim for his take on carnality, surrealism, and technology. He was even awarded an academy award for his work on the original Aliensubsequently making him a household name and cementing him into the very foundation of cinematic design and surrealist art.

In celebration of the upcoming Alien: Covenant, I felt it is the perfect time to the examine Giger's work and contributions to the long-running series.

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Giger’s work is highly sexual in nature often depicting coitus and masturbation coupled with machinery and other knick knacks. A kind of gothic transhumanism, he opted to frequently explore the intersections between pleasure and technology. Some believe that his pieces are an almost Freudian exploration of the subconscious mind, unearthing our own repressed desires and the need to project them on to his pieces. 

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It should come as no surprise then that the iconic Xenomorph design has fairly obvious phallic influences and is the star of a series acting as a metaphor for rape. The Alien franchise (the earlier entries anyway) is heralded for it’s tense sci-fi horror atmosphere and beautiful visuals, but the development team wished to capitalize on this to probe the audience’s fears of molestation, forcible impregnation, and submission. By utilizing these themes, the films also provide a commentary on birth trauma.

Giger had nothing to do with anything outside of the art department, however his pieces were a huge inspiration to the team. Ridley Scott felt that the creature's design was perfect for the film. The series is chalk full of phallic and yonic symbolism, so the Xenomorph's aesthetic and biological facets made it a stellar vehicle for the film's narrative.


Despite his subversive themes, he is undoubtedly one of the most iconic artists the film world has ever seen.

Don't miss Alien: Covenant when it hits theaters May 19th, 2017.

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