Swiss surrealist artist H.R. Giger, known for his design work on the revolutionary 1979 sci-fi thriller Alien and its sequels, as well as the recent Prometheus, passed away at the age of 74. His museum made the announcement, confirming that he succumbed to injuries sustained in a fall.
H.R. Giger was born Hans Rudolf , the son of a chemist, in 1940. He grew up in the Swiss town of Chur, and studied architecture and industrial design in Zurich. He first experimented with ink drawings and polyester works before moving onto larger freehand airbrush work. This is where he began to express his nightmarish dreamscapes.
He was awarded with an Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects in 1980. H.R. Giger was known for exploring the relationship with the human body and machine, and often created surrealist depictions of humans fused together with industrial parts. The style became known as 'biomechanical'.
He first gained widespread recognition with his 1973 album cover for "Brain Salad Surgery" by English rock group Emerson Lake and Palmer. It depicted a human skull encased in a machine.
H.R. Giger had this to say about his own work in a 1979 Starlog magazine interview.
"My paintings seem to make the strongest impression on people who are, well, who are crazy. A good many people think as I do. If they like my work they are creative... or they are crazy."
In 1975, the artists suffered a personal tragedy when his Swiss actress girlfriend Li Tobler commited suicide. She served as the model for a lot of his work. He later married Mia Bonzanigo in 1982, but the couple later divorced.
H.R. Giger will be remembered for his many sculptures, paintings and furniture. Some of these works are on display at his own museum in a medieval castle in Gruyeres, central Switzerland. It is run by his second wife Carmen Maria Scheifele Giger.