The aliens produced by Swiss artist HR Giger (1940-2014) are biomechanoid monsters in erotic battle formations with metallically gleaming and grotesquely extended vertebrae. Giger, who studied interior and industrial design at the Zurich School of Applied Arts until the mid-1960s, faced his demons and concentrated on his obsessions at an early stage. His 1979 Oscar for Ridley Scott’s Alien (Best Visual Effects) made him famous far beyond the sci-fi scene and necro community. In the perfected horror of Hollywood’s nightmare factory, he appeared to have found his ideal artistic medium, because Giger’s environments came from his inclination towards the all-encompassing artwork (Gesamtkunstwerk). This included not only paintings, but also underground and mainstream films, sculptures, furniture and even various Giger Bars, e.g. in his home town of Chur or in Tokyo. He designed album covers for rock and punk musicians like Dead Kennedys and Debbie Harry. In addition, peaceful Gruyère (canton Fribourg) is home to Museum HR Giger, resembling a gothic ghost’s cabinet of curiosities, tucked in between the mediaeval walls of Château St. Germain. Even after his death in 2014, his ghost train is still doing its rounds. In the garden and sun-shielded rooms of his residence in Oerlikon, Zurich, amongst all the dark master’s books, skulls, objects, nightshade plants and fetishes, his abandoned model train seeks the next derailment, the next chasm to stealthily hurtle towards. It stops on request.
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