H.R. Giger, biomechanoid, skull on a worm, licking creatures, artscum, dark art

H.R. Giger (CH) - VISIONS FROM THE "BLACK ROOM": „If I were like my pictures - that would be almost unbearable...“

Pictures, books, films, design, museum

+++ Chris Mars (USA), Seth Siro Anton (GRE), John Santerinerros (USA), Absumaniac (Poland)

INSIDE artzine #18, dark art magazine, H.R. Giger, Chris Mars, Seth Siro Anton

H.R. Giger, painter, Chur, Switzerland, portrait. smiling„If I were like my pictures – that would be almost unbearable,“ he is said to have said once in an interview. So the question arises, how much can an artist bear whose creative work is deeply pervaded by nightmares, anxiety; and madness? Hans Rudolf Giger, or „H.R.G.“ for short, has certainly created his own standard of „the endurable“ in the field of the so-called „Dark Art“. Always close to the abyss, of which we know since Nietzsche that if you look into one long enough, it will also look into you.

But how much of his personal abyss is really hidden in Giger’s work? It’s the famous question about the man behind the painter and designer from Chur in Switzerland, to which I have already tried to find an answer in the Giger-Special in INSIDE artzine #18. A particularly exciting question, because his work is considered the epitome of the offside in art. When the painterly view falls through the thin skin of the so-called common sense upon the… well, upon what? Upon the absurdity of the impossibility to bear a border between beauty and ugliness?!

Giger, Alien, monster, movie, skull, dark art, science fiction classicOliver Stone, US film director, screenwriter, and producer, said about Giger: „When, in a few decades, people will talk about the twentieth century, they will think of Giger.” Giger’s work for the 1979 film „Alien“, directed by Ridley Scott, has certainly remained in the memory of the world. In hardly any other film, the design work has had such a decisive influence on the effect of the content. Apart from the actual alien, a parasitically adolescent species called „Xenomorph“, Giger has also created a variety of technical designs, environments, and buildings that have contributed significantly to the almost physical threat and cult of this science fiction classic! It was Giger’s commercial breakthrough, although there is a rumor that, despite the immense success of the film, he was never paid adequately. Having been asked this in interviews, he always replied in his broad, benevolent Swiss dialect that he “didn’t get upset about that anymore“. After all, he was awarded the „Best Achievement for Visual Effects“ Oscar for this film in 1979. So, even if we don‘t know whether the „Alien“ was his alter ego or simply imagination, modesty was obviously not foreign to him. (More about the movie „Alien“ on the Internet Movie Data Base.


Gigers Necronomicon, art book, satan, altar, dark art
My personal first encounter with the work of h. r. giger was a copy of the legendary book „Necronomicon“. As I was already familiar with the unholy work of the mad Arab Abdul Alhazred since my earliest youth, I believed I was prepared for anything when I bought this book. But even the extraterrestrial horror of H.P. Lovecraft‘s creatures could not have prepared me for the impact of this dark beauty and this nightmarish grandeur that I found in Giger’s work. The book shows works from different periods of Giger’s creative life and thus creates a perfect overview of the whole tragedy of the supposedly ugly. And everything is bathed in the wonderful light of the beauty of his unique talent. Full stop. If you are ignorants: Enter the h.r. cosmos by „Giger‘s Necronomicon“ book. From here, you can reach every corner of his rich imagination, no matter how dark it is. Gigers online store

H.R. Giger, biomechanoid, skull on a worm, licking creatures, artscum, dark artBIOMECHANICAL CREATURES – METAL IN THE BOWL
Also still present today, every time I look into the engine room, are Giger‘s biomechanoidal works. While in the beginning it was only a few machine parts that made their way into primarily female bodies, the nightmarish body additions over time developed into entire landscapes full of teeming ambiguities (man or machine?). In the short film „The Art of Biomechanics“ (on You Tube), you can listen to Giger, saying that he adored women above all else, but also that sometimes he was afraid of them. Exactly this conflict seems to be trapped in the dark eroticism that oozes out of the extensive series. Was Giger a man who was frightened by his own sexual fascination with women? This is, like all theories about sex, a very bold one.

Is there any better place to approach an artist and his work than a museum? According to his status in contemporary art history, Giger of course has his own museum, which is located in the medieval Château St. Germain in Gruyères / Switzerland. Drink a bottle of good red wine beforehand (this is what the author of these lines did), and dive down. For hours. Or was it days?! You will never get a more comprehensive overview of the art of Giger (pictures, sculptures, sketches, furniture, videos) in all your life. And to close the clasp of preparation again, you can complete the trip with even more red wine in the „Giger Bar“ opposite the museum. H.R. Giger, giger bar at the giger museum, Gruyères, SwitzerlandBesides the many highlights in the rooms of the museum, there is also a more remarkable one with regard to the human being Giger: Upstairs, under the roof of the winding building, there is a collection of artworks that Giger himself has collected over the years. From drawings and paintings to bizarre sculptures and rather bizarre „fan art“ (e.g. Giger portraits), one can make assumptions about H.R.‘s personal taste in art. Some of the objects exhibited there, the visitor probably NEVER would expect to appear in a Giger museum; therefore one can conclude that Giger’s art horizon was going far beyond the “Dark Art” category.

giger, record cover, celtic frost, ELP, dark artI can‘t remember if there was any music playing in the Giger Bar (the red wine?), and if so, what kind of music. I had been hanging around the bar in the famous Harkonnen swivel chairs and pondered how Giger‘s work could be translated into soundscapes. Some of his work has made its way onto records / CD covers of famous bands like EMERSON, LAKE & PALMER (ELP) or DEBBIE HARRY. But no other band visualizes the dark beauty of the art of Giger as perfectly in their songs as the Swiss metal band CELTIC FROST (and their follow-up band TRIPTYKON). Somewhere in the eternal twilight between Black Metal and Doom, the spirit of the artist is still lurking today. Although the bandleader Thomas Gabriel Fischer and Giger were friends for many years, we do not know whether H.R. was a metalhead… A selection of Giger record covers

H.R. Giger, ink, high heels, stockings, dark artWith the awestruck view of the admirer, it is hard to tell whether H.R. Giger‘s inner life really reflects what our intoxicated imagination believes to see in his paintings. I especially like to let my gaze drift past the bombastic, room-filling shadow visions of his main work and onto the very early works. Here, the more „macabre“ and „evil“ side of the artist‘s brain is evident. In these early ink drawings, an unbridled lust for the ugly and the bitter is brooding. In his later work, this lust always flashes up again in the background, but then apparently smiles in the guise of technical perfection. But in blank ink on paper, however, this lust is young, raw, irreverent. In almost all biographies, the so-called „Black Room“ is mentioned, which was obviously the room of the young H.R. Black walls where format-filling, rakishly smeared pictures and notes with crazy drawings were lurking. H.R. Giger, black room, private room, young gigerdark art,

So here it is: The abyss from which the impressive world of Hans Rudolf Giger seeped up to us. A work that can only be described by itself: Gigeresque! And without this work, the magazine INSIDE artzine would have probably never existed! As I already wrote in the Giger Special in INSIDE artzine #18: „Giger has returned into his Black Room. Thank you my friend, for the look behind the black curtain…..“ (Hans Rudolf Giger died on May 12th, 2014).


Chris Mars, painter, The Replacements, USA, sureal art, oli painting, schitzophrenia, hanford, nuclear contamination, malformation, eyes, tentacles, dark art magazine

Chris Mars (USA) - PAINTER OF THE PERCEIVED INSANITY: We are the monsters!

Paintings, music & monsters...

INSIDE artzine #17 (PREVIEW/BUY)
+++ Matt Lombard (USA), Seth Siro Anton (GRE), Marcelo Vasco (BRA), Shichigoro Shingo (japan) +++

CHECK OUT THE SPECIAL ABOUT HIS GALLERY REPRESENTATIVE “COPRO GALLERY” (including an interview with the gallery owner and pictures of Chris Mars, Chet Zar and others) in INSIDE artzine #21 (PREVIEW/BUY)

Chris Mars, painer, infront of one of his masterpieces, dark artIt is difficult to describe the pictures of the American painter Chris Mars. Although he uses a wide variety of media such as oil paint, pastel chalk, scratchboard, or even film and music, a certain thought seems to run through all his works. They all seem to want to tell a dark, unknown story. The expression in the faces he depicts is too impressive, the scenarios too oppressively detailed and the dreams of the viewer too lastingly disturbed to be a mere visualization of an indefinable mood of the painter. Years ago, for an interview in the magazine VIRUS, I asked the painter and musician from Minneapolis/USA exactly this. He replied, “In the end, I want my paintings to tell a story, but at the beginning I never know which one it will be.” So let’s follow the dark path through the imagination of Chris Mars, wherever it may lead us.

The name Chris Mars first seeped into the world in 1979 when he was the co-founder and drummer of the band “The Replacements”. Initially a punk band with legendary wild, alcoholic live gigs, the band with the singer Paul Westerberg then turned to the much quieter “Alternative Rock” in the eighties and even reached number 1 in the American Billboard Modern Rock Charts.

Chris Mars, painter, The Replacements, USA, sureal art, oli painting, schitzophrenia, hanford, nuclear contamination, malformation, eyes, tentacles

Whether that’s good or bad, I don’t know. Although the (later) music was radiating some sort of dark melancholy, it is difficult to find roots there for the painter’s obsession that burst out of Chris Mars after he left the band in 1991.

The boundaries between artist and artwork often seem to be fluid in dark, surreal art which has the effect that the viewer is driven into the realm of a personal revelation between beauty and abyss, “Let me tell you something about monsters. I have great empathy toward monsters, or more accurately, perceived monsters. To me, monsters are more like misfits, people who are physically deformed, or rather, uniquely formed (as indeed we all are, each of us); or, people who are mentally on a different plane than the majority. I am sympathetic toward perceived monsters, because I have known and loved perceived monsters, and have felt this way myself.“ Do we see “monsters” in the pictures of Chris Mars? Are faces with these deeply emotional looks “monsters”? Or is it just that what often makes his works seem grotesque? The beauty of the monster…. Chris Mars himself?

Chris Mars, painter, The Replacements, USA, sureal art, oli painting, schitzophrenia, faces, letter, red nose


A key to Chris Mars’ work seems to lie in his past. In interviews as well as on his homepage, he tells about his brother who suffered from schizophrenia. “He saw things, he heard things. Were they monsters? Was he? He was fifteen. I was five. I went to see him. The sights, sounds and smells I experienced as a small child visiting him there, are prevalent throughout my work. Did he see monsters? Or did I?”

Chris Mars, painter, The Replacements, USA, sureal art, oli painting, schitzophrenia, hanford, nuclear contamination, malformation, eyes, tentacles, artscum

It is not so much the disease itself, which is accompanied by a strong change in perception (voices, hallucinations) and behavior (listlessness, falling silent) of the person concerned, that obviously has become the object of Chris Mars’ artistic vision. It is rather the way how society dealt with his brother’s illness in particular and with “otherness” in general that became the topic of his creative action: “I want people to consider the beauty that lives beneath the veneer of my troubled figures and faces. Through my work, it is my intention to bring these souls forward as a symbol of and a memorial to the many who live with mental illness, those who are labeled and thereby limited by some flaw that is in truth only a fraction of what that whole person is about.

We are the monsters! Look into the Chris Mars’ pictures as if you looked into a mirror. Nobody is really ugly, not even those who only believe in beauty. One of his art books is therefore called “Tolerance” (Shoplink)

Read more of his thoughts on his WEBSITE watch the incredible videos/shortfilms on his YouTube channel (some “time-lapse paintings” videos showing how he paints his masterpieces) and also check out the other artists like Chet Zar, Menton 3 and Allen Williams from his gallery representative COPRO