HR Giger Metamorphoses

In collaboration with the HR Giger Museum in Gruyères, Switzerland, Carmen Maria Giger, and collector Marco Witzig, the South Bohemian Gallery is preparing a remarkable exhibition at the Castle Riding Hall in Hluboká nad Vltavou, showcasing the exceptional talents of HR Giger. Best known for his contributions as a painter, sculptor and designer, Giger is widely celebrated as the creator of the artistic movement known as biomechanical surrealism and the iconic film monster, Alien. Giger has been hailed as the greatest visionary among 20th-century artists. His unique style emerged from surrealism, infused with post-catastrophic scepticism and existentialism brought about by the two world wars.

The title Metamorphoses reflects not only the artist’s diverse oeuvre but also pays homage to Giger’s drawings inspired by Franz Kafka’s famous short story The Metamorphosis. HR Giger was a great admirer of the Czech-German literary scene and in addition to being drawn to the works of Kafka, he was also fascinated by the magical world of Gustav Meyrink.

The profound connection between Giger and the Czech environment was most notably forged through the eminent psychiatrist and writer, Stanislav Grof. In his book The Visionary World of HR Giger, Grof describes the positive message of universal spirituality conveyed through visionary art. Grof explains how visionary artists capture the contemporary birth trauma of the world’s soul in their art, emphasizing how art creates a new context for appreciating and understanding visionary art while awakening our consciousness.

The exhibition will present Giger’s work in the broadest possible context, including numerous drawings, airbrush paintings and sculptures. Among the highlights will be a selection of his iconic Necronomicon realisations, which captivated director Ridley Scott, leading Giger to design the unforgettable Alien, for which he received the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects in 1980.

Covering over nine hundred square meters, this generous showcase will undoubtedly be the largest exhibition of Giger’s works in Central Europe to date. 

The exhibition will be open to visitors from 11 June to 19 November 2023. It will be accessible daily, with opening hours from 9:00 to 18:00.

 HR Giger - Metamorphoses
 
11/6 — 19/11/2023
The South Bohemian Gallery, Castle Riding Hall, 373 41 Hluboká nad Vltavou 144
 

Curator, author of text | Adam Hnojil

Architect | Adam Hochmuth

Graphic design | Jana Vahalíková (Studio Marvil)

Project guarantors | Carmen Maria Giger, Marco Witzig, Aleš Seifert

Project manager and PR | Paulina Skavova

Main project partner | ČEZ Group

Proofreading | Marek Svoboda, Markéta Johnová

Translation | Markéta Johnová

Photography | Mia Bonzanigo, Matthias Belz

Videos | David N. Jahn, Chilli Production

Social media content | Chilli Production

Promotion | Marketing and production department and public relations AJG

Construction, painting | RSCB spol. s.r.o.

Transport | MONRO Fine Logistics, IGS-HS Art Service

Printing of graphics and texts | Wall-ink, Tomáš Roháček

Technology support | Hisense. Sense for Technology

Lightdesign | Martin Špetlík, Jiří Šmirk

Installation | Technical department AJG, Artpartners

Accompanying programmes | Paulina Skavova, David Jahn, Chilli Production, Educational department AJG

Acknowledgements | Matthias Belz, Andy Davies, Tom Gabriel Fischer, Sandra Beretta, David Jahn

Special acknowledgements | Aargauer Kunsthaus Aarau, Switzerland; Bündner Kunstmuseum Chur, Switzerland; Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland; Art Collection of the Canton of Zurich, Switzerland; Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz, Austria; Vögele Kultur Zentrum, Pfäffikon SZ / CH, Switzerland; City of Chur, Switzerland; HR GIGER MUSEUM; Collection Witzig-Danciu and private collectors

Patronage | Governor of the South Bohemian Region Martin Kuba, Embassy of the Swiss Confederation in the Czech Republic, U.S. Embassy in The Czech Republic, Pro Helvetia

The South Bohemian Gallery would like to thank everyone who participated in the realization of the exhibition. Addaitionally, the gallery would like to thank all the staff of the South Bohemian Gallery for their help in the organization of the project.

 

Audioguide

 

Biography

 

1940

Hans Ruedi Giger is born on 5 February in Chur as the second child of Melly Giger-Meier and pharmacist Hans Richard Giger.

1959–62

Giger completes an internship with architect Venatio Maisen and developer Hans Stetter in Chur.

1962–65

He studies interior and industrial design at the Zurich School of Applied Arts.

1964

While living in Zurich, Giger spends his spare time creating and publishing drawings of “Atomkinder” (Atomic Children) and experimenting with various art techniques.

1965

Giger privately publishes a series of works under the title Ein Fressen für den Psychiater (A Feast for the Psychiatrist). He shows a great interest in psychoanalysis and the works of Sigmund Freud.

1966

After graduation, Giger starts working for Andreas Christen in Zurich and collaborates with actor Paul Weibel. He meets actress Li Tobler, with whom he falls in love. He has his first solo exhibition at Galerie Beno in Zurich.

1967

Giger lives with Li Tobler and creates works such as Birth Machine, Underground and Astroeunuchs. He meets with writer Sergius Golowin. In collaboration with poet Urban Gwerder, filmmaker Fredi M. Murer and actress Li Tobler, Giger detects the action art captured in the ten-minute film High.

1968

Gigers gain independence and designs props for the film Swiss Made, which features his first alien creature. He paints smaller formats. Gallerist and art dealer Bruno Bischofberger purchases a body of his work. He participates in the exhibition Hommage à Che at the Stummer Gallery in Zurich.

1969

Bruno Bischofberger publishes the screen prints Biomechanoids 1969.

1970

While staying at Eveline Bühler’s apartment, Giger experiences nightmares he later depicts in the famous Necronomicon. He exhibits at Bruno Bischofberger’s gallery.

1971

Together with Li Tobler, Giger visits Fredi M. Murer in London and they decide to make the documentary Passagen in the London docks.

1972

He exhibits at the Kunstverein Kassel.

1973

Giger creates the cover of Brain Salad Surgery for the rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer.

1975

He creates Passagen-Tempel for the Sydow-Zirkwitz Gallery. Li Tobler commits suicide.

1976

Giger exhibits at the Sydow-Zirkwitz Gallery. He meets Salvador Dali and the director Alejandro Jodorowsky through contact with the American painter Robert Venosa. He is invited to collaborate on the film Dune.

1977

Necronomicon is published. Giger visits America for the first time.

1978

Director Ridley Scott comes across an issue of Necronomicon and is convinced that Giger is the right designer for his intended film Alien.

1979

Giger attends the preview of Alien in Hollywood and draws the attention of journalists.

1980

The designs for Alien are presented at the Baviera Gallery in Zurich. Giger is nominated for an Academy Award. He exhibits at the Hansen Galleries in New York and wins an Academy Award for visual effects for the film Alien.

1981

Giger designs the Harkonnen chairs for the film Dune and collaborates with Debbie Harry on her solo album KooKoo.

1984

A retrospective exhibition is held at the Seedamm-Kulturzentrum in Pfäffikon.

1985

The company MGM invites Giger to collaborate on Brian Gibson’s Poltergeist II.

1986

Giger starts preparing for a major exhibition at the Shibuya Seibu Museum of Art in Tokyo planned for the following year.

1987

The exhibition in Japan is a success, and discussions begin about the realization of a Giger Bar in Tokyo. Giger is approached to create the monster Goho Dohji for a film by Japanese director Akio Jitsusoji.

1988

Due to strict building regulations, only a smaller version of the originally intended four-storey Giger Bar is built in Tokyo.

1989

Giger creates numerous illustrations for books and comic magazines. He negotiates with Ridley Scott about collaboration on Alien 3. He is preparing a memoir for the publishing house Benedikt Taschen Verlag.

1990

Giger celebrates his 50th birthday and works on ideas for Ridley Scott’s film Train. He ends collaboration with his long-time manager Ueli Steinle and begins working more intensively with his friend Leslie Barany. Numerous exhibitions are held on the occasion of Giger’s birthday. He commissions casts of earlier sculptural realizations and participates in the making of several documentary films while working on designs for the film Alien 3. He also works on his own film project, The Mystery of San Gottardo.

1991

Giger makes designs for Bill Malone’s Dead Star and collaborates with Swatch on a watch edition.

1992

Another Giger Bar is opened at the Kalchbühl Zentrum in Chur. The computer game Dark Seed is released, and a major retrospective opens at the Baviera Gallery in Zurich.

1993

The exhibition The Intruder opens at the Baviera Gallery in Zurich.

1994

Giger is a guest lecturer at the Zurich University of Design (GBMS) and he works on the film Species for MGM. His mother passes away.

1995

Giger continues to work on the science fiction film Species for MGM. The film becomes a box office hit.

1996

Giger experiments with holograms and has his website created.

1997

Benedikt Taschen Verlag publishes a comprehensive and still reprinted monograph on Giger. Giger purchases a part of the castle of Saint-Germain in Gruyères to create a museum there.

1998

The Mystery of San Gottardo is published by Benedikt Taschen Verlag. Giger’s museum in Gruyères opens.

2000

Giger celebrates his sixtieth birthday and his website has more than a million visits.

2002

Benedikt Taschen Verlag publishes Icon HR Giger with a text by Stanislav Grof. Giger designs a jewellery collection.

2005

Ibanez Guitars presents an edition of guitars designed by Giger. An exhibition of Giger’s works opens at the Baviera Gallery. An exhibition of Giger’s works opens at the National Technical Museum in Prague.

2006

Giger marries Carmen Maria Giger. A major retrospective exhibition of Giger’s works opens at Kunst Haus Wien.

2007

An exhibition of Giger’s works opens at Bündner Kunsthaus in Chur.

2008

HR Giger Museum celebrates its ten-year anniversary. Several books are published on this occasion.

2009

The German Film Museum in Frankfurt am Main organizes a major exhibition of Giger’s film designs.

2010

A major exhibition of Giger’s works is held in the Swiss municipality of Sarnen on the occasion of the artist’s seventieth birthday.

2011

Giger is invited by director Ridley Scott to collaborate on the film Prometheus.

2012

At Ridley Scott’s invitation, Giger attends the premiere of Prometheus in London.

2013

The book Alien Diaries is published, featuring facsimiles of Giger’s original alien diaries. The Giger Museum in Gruyères celebrates its 15th anniversary with the artist in attendance.

2014

On 12 May, Giger passes away in his home. On 25 May, he is buried in the Gruyères cemetery, within sight of his museum.

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Z důvodu přípravy nových výstav je do 25. 5. uzavřena pobočka Wortnerův dům v Českých Budějovicích a do 8. 6. uzavřena Zámecká jízdárna v Hluboké nad Vltavou.

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