H.R. Giger, celebrated at Transilvania IFF 2017. The portrait of a unique artist

11.04.2017 18:21
Famous for having designed the extraterrestrial creature of the iconic SF film Alien (1979) which brought him an Oscar, H.R. Giger has created a spectacular body of unique work over the course of 45 years.

Biomechanics, surrealism, dark creatures and futuristic objects – the Swiss artist H.R. Giger, master of fantastic realism, willbe dedicated a retrospective at the 16th edition of the Transilvania International Film Festival (June 2-11, Cluj-Napoca).

The portrait of H.R. Giger includes films exploring the behind the scenes of his creation, as well as two titles in the Alien series, both directed by Ridley Scott: the first, made in 1979, and the most recent, Alien: Covenant (2017), which will be launched this year. Special guests attending this year`s TIFF are director Zev Deans, an admirer of Giger`s work, and Leslie Barany, former agent and close friend of the late artist.

“The work of H.R. Giger is worth discovering in all its surrealist and kinky splendor. This unconventional portrait, inspired by the retrospective dedicated to him by the Museum of Art and Design (MAD) in New York in 2015, restores Giger`s intricate personality and dark imaginarium in a series of innovative medium-length films, as well as both the first and the latest films in the Alien series for which the Swiss artist is famed for”, says Mihai Chirilov, artistic director at TIFF.

H.R. Giger (1940-2014) was born in a family of chemists in Chur, Switzerland. He studied architecture and industrial design and developed his unique style discovering airbrush, with the help of which he created dark, surrealist biomechanical dreamscapes which brought him fame. His most well-known book, Necronomicon (1977) fascinated Ridley Scott, who approached him for Alien. The film brought him an Oscar for visual effects, trophy awarded both for the creature in the film, in all its appearances, as well as for inspiring the interior of the spaceship and the exteriors. The artist also created objects for Poltergeist II, Species, but also sketches for Alejandro Jodorowsky`s legendary, but never accomplished film, Dune.

Books, sculptures, paintings, interior design objects, films, posters, album covers – all were reunited in the H.R. Giger Museum, opened in 1998 in Chateau Saint Germain. Equally famous are the “Giger bars” created by the artist, with a unique design in the world. More than 20 books were dedicated to his body of work, and museums in Paris, New York, Prague, Frankfurt, Moscow or Istanbul organized extensive retrospectives.

Transilvania IFF offers cinephiles a rare occasion to explore the world of H.R. Giger. Together with the two Alien films, the retrospective comprises two sets of short films. The first, The Collaborations of H.R. Giger, reveals some of his collaborations with other artists: the Blondie band, for the Koo Koo album, in A New Face of Debbie Harry (1982, F.M. Murer) and with painters Claude Sandoz and Walter Wegmüller in Tagtraum (1973, J.J. Wittmer). In Swissmade 2069 (1982, F.M. Murer), a SF dystopia created from the perspective of an alien, Giger makes his debut in costumes and props design.

The second part introduces viewers Behind the Scenes of H.R. Giger’s studio. In Passagen (1970, F.M. Murer), fascinated by the erotic mechanics of smashing metallic boxes in the landfill, Giger creates a famous series of paintings named Passagen. Interviews with friends, family members, curators and collectors outline an intimate portrait of the artist in Giger’s Necronomicon (1975, r. J.J. Wittmer), while Giger’s Alien (1979, r. Mia Bonzanigo & J.J. Wittmer) documents the height of his career - work on the set of Alien.

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Transilvania International Film Festival is organised by the Association for Romanian Film Promotion and the Association for the Transilvania Film Festival.