Hans Rudolf “Ruedi” Giger
(/ˈɡiːɡər/; 5 February 1940 – 12 May 2014) was a Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor and set designer. He was part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for their design work on the film Alien
.He was named to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2013.
Giger was born in 1940 in Chur, capital city of Graubünden, the largest and easternmost Swiss canton. His father, a chemist, viewed art as a “breadless profession” and strongly encouraged him to enter pharmaceutics, Giger recalls. Yet he moved in 1962 to Zürich, where he studied Architecture and industrial design at the School of Applied Arts until 1970. Giger had a relationship with Swiss actress Li Tobler until she committed suicide in 1975. He married Mia Bonzanigo in 1979; they separated a year and a half later.
Giger’s style and thematic execution were influential. His design for the Alien was inspired by his painting Necronom IV
and earned him an Oscar in 1980. His books of paintings, particularly Necronomicon
and Necronomicon II
(1985) and the frequent appearance of his art in Omni
magazine continued his rise to international prominence.Giger is also well known for artwork on several music recording albums.
In 1998 Giger acquired the Château St. Germain in Gruyères, Switzerland, and it now houses the H. R. Giger Museum, a permanent repository of his work. The artist lived and worked in Zürich with his wife, Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger, who is the Director of the H.R. Giger Museum.
On 12 May 2014, Giger died in a hospital in Zürich after having suffered injuries in a fall.
In a New York Times
obituary for Giger, Timothy Leary was quoted as having praised the artist by saying, “Giger’s work disturbs us, spooks us, because of its enormous evolutionary time span. It shows us, all too clearly, where we come from and where we are going.”