Alien: HR Giger 's Life Cycle Hieroglyphics Tableau

leading from

Hieroglyphics painting as seen in the
Shepperton Studios' Art Department

Original life cyle tableau, 1978

a) Early hieroglyphics illustration
Giger's Life Cycle Hieroglyphics was painted as a set decoration for the egg silo in the movie Alien.

Ron Cobb, in his Birth Temple Illustration in the pre-production stage, started off an idea based on Dan O'Bannon's description in the script, which he transformed into something loosely based on Mayan imagery from the Dresden Codex.

b) Using Ron Cobb's illustration as a starting point

Giger found himself working on the pyramid hieroglyphics, which showed the metamorphoses of the aliens from top to bottom, the egg in which lurked the Facehugger, an astronaut approaching the egg, the facehugger jumping onto the face of the astronaut, implementing the seedling and the Chestburster erupting from the chest of the astronaut

One can see that he has incorporated elements based on Ron Cobb's illustration, Giger also used one of his own earlier paintings featured in his Necronomicon book known as Biomechanic Landscape (work 312) as reference to lay the structure out, replacing the goblin head like warheads being constructed in the painting with the egg like alien spores.


c) Egyptian Imagery

He also included a biomechanic version of the sky Goddess Nut.

The image of her was borrowed perhaps from such as the book cover for Aleister Crowley's The Equinox of the Gods, but ancient steles and reliefs are to be found of her depicted in a similar way, 

An image of a host with a chestburster erupting from the chest could be inspired by depictions of the god Geb who can be seen with an erect male member while beneath the sky goddess Nut in some ancient images.

d) References the William Onyeabor "Crashes in Love" album cover design>
Bolaji Badejo a Nigerian who has been studying graphics design in central London spent time with Giger and what this ought to have led to is conversation ideally about musical interests. 

Perhaps Bolaji would have been someone with an interest in the music of Nigerian Synth-Funk pioneer William Onyeabor who released the film soundtrack album "Crashes In Love" in 1977 for a film of that name, he would have had a copy in England and would have shown it to Giger.

With that , it might have sounded to Giger as a JG Ballard fan as if it ought to have something to do with a JG Ballard novel Crash, but any resulting answer would reveal that there was no connection.  

If Bolaji was not the person with an interest in Onyeabor's music, then someone associated with Ernst Fuchs would have shown Giger the album cover. 

On seeing this this album cover, Giger ought to have recognised how this cover art looked inspired by details from Ernst Fuchs' painting "Triumph of the Unicorn" from 1952, and if so would have looked for ways to incorporate some aspects of it it into artwork of his own with referenced "Triumph of the Unicorn"

See: Album cover of William Onyeabor's "Crashes in Love" (1977) references Ernst Fuch's Triumph Of The Unicorn?

See: William Onyeabor "Crashes in Love" album cover (1977) referenced in Giger's Alien Life Cycle Hieroglyphics (1978)?

e) Radio Times imagery

e.i) See:  References Radio Times May 16th 1968 FA Cup Final cover illustration

e.ii) See: References the Radio Times 10th-16th June 1961 cover?


g) References poster for the movie The Pink Panther Strikes Again (released 15th December 1976 (US)) directed by Blake Edwards?

h) See: References Illustration of the Celestial Arishem, leader of the fourth host from The Eternals vol 1 #2 (August 1976) by Jack Kirby

i) Changes
Curiously the humanoid astronaut like victim would be changed to something that resembled the race of the dead pilot in the derelict ship. 

The final tableau would raise further questions about whether the alien pilot's race had always been involved in the life cycle of the alien 

Was this painting supposed to be a celebration of the life cycle for an alien civilisation or a deadly warning for those who were about to enter the birth temple that had become transformed into the deadly egg silo that was somehow part of the derelict ship. 

Considering the Radio Times cover illustration, one might think that the reshaped head has become shaped a bit like the head of a golf club.

Giger's final Alien life cycle tableau

j) Results

In the resulting painting was a combination of ancient mythologies, Giger communicates through Herbet M Hurka the writer that the idea the triangle with the eye of God dominates the rest of the depiction, a symbolism that is superficially reminiscent of a creation myth, but in reality documents an extinction of a species 

For the design, the picture border Giger used technical set pieces and machine parts of templates for the first time, and in contrast to his previous pictures, the task is to fill the edge of the picture with shapes that have no immediate significance to the picture content, and the stencil prints worked purely ornamentally.

  1. Was sowohl von der Komposition als auch vom Format her einem Tafelbild entspricht, soll laut Filmhandlung zu einem Wandrelief ausgearbeitet und in das Wrack eingesetzt werden. Es beinhaltet die Narration des Alien-Überfalls auf die exterrestrische Besatzung. Giger verfällt darauf, Altägyptisches mit Science Fiction zu kombinieren. Von der Spitze herab dominiert ein Dreieck mit Gottesauge das übrige Dargestellte, eine Symbolik, die vordergründig an einen Schöpfungsmythos erinnert, in Wirklichkeit jedoch die Ausrottung einer Spezies dokumentiert. Formal umgesetzt wird das Tableau, ganz filmgemäß, in einer Bildergeschichte, in der von oben nach unten die Metamorphosen des Aliens abulesen sind: a) Das Ei, in dem der Facehugger lauert, b) ein Astronaut, der sich dem Ei nähert, c) der Facehugger springt dem Astronauten ins Gesicht und implementiert den Keimling, d) der Chestburster platzt aus dem Brustkorb des Astronauten. Für die Gestaltung des Bildrands verwendet Giger zum ersten Mal technische Versatzstücke und Maschinenteile als Schablonen. Im Unterschied zu seinen bisherigen Bildern stellt sich die Aufgabe, den Bildrand mit Formen zu füllen, denen keine unmittelbare Bedeutung für den Bildinhalt zukommt, so dass die Schablonenabdrücke rein ornamental funktionieren. (Google translation)According to the film's plot, what corresponds to a panel painting both in terms of composition and format is to be worked out into a wall relief and inserted into the wreck. It contains the narration of the alien attack on the exterrestrial occupation. Giger decides to combine ancient Egyptian with science fiction. From the top, a triangle with the eye of God dominates the rest of the depicted, a symbolism that is superficially reminiscent of a creation myth, but in reality documents the extinction of a species. In terms of film, the tableau is formally implemented in a picture story in which the metamorphoses of the alien are read from top to bottom: a) The egg in which the face-hugger lurks, b) An astronaut who approaches the egg, c) the face hugger jumps the astronaut in the face and implements the seedling, d) the chest burst bursts out of the chest of the astronaut. For the design of the picture border, Giger uses technical set pieces and machine parts as templates for the first time. In contrast to his previous pictures, the task is to fill the edge of the picture with shapes that have no immediate significance for the picture content, so that the stencil prints work purely ornamentally.
    ( translation) A panel representing both the composition and the format here, should be elaborated according to the story to a wall relief and inserted into the wreck.It contains the narration of the alien invasion of the extraterrestrial crew. Giger forfeited it to combine Egyptian with science fiction. From the top down dominates a triangle with God eye the rest represented, documented a symbolism, which superficially resembles a creation myth, however, in reality the extinction of a species. Formally implemented the Panel referred to in all film, in a picture story of the metamorphoses of the aliens are abulesen from top to bottom: a) the egg, in which lurks the Facehugger, b) an astronaut approaching the egg, c) the Facehugger jumping the astronauts in the face and implements the seedling, d) The Chestburster bursts from the chest of the astronauts.For the design of the edges of the image, Giger used pieces of technical and machine parts as templates for the first time.The task to fill the screen, where no immediate significance for the content of the image, so that the stencil prints purely ornamental function with forms is in contrast to his previous pictures.
    ( Source: HR Giger. Das Buch: Biografie. Kunst. by Herbert M Hurka)

j) Placement of the Life Cycle Tableau

The painting was to be used instead in a place found in a corridor aboard the derelict instead of the egg silo and then eventually dropped completely from the production, also it was possibly that it looked a little too much like a product of the Egyptian mythology rather than something strictly alien.

k) See: Mythologist Will Linn's comments from the documentary "Memory: The Origins of Alien"

l) The theme of Nut the Sky Goddess involved in Giger choice of grave stone

Carmen Scheifele-Giger, the second and last wife HR Giger understood how the female figure across the painting was Nut the Egyptian goddess of the night's sky with the stars in her belly, and she thought it was very beautiful. 

It was one that HR Giger liked very much, and when he died, it was actually being considered for his grave adornment, but since this was rejected by the Commune de Gruyères. 

Instead a tomb slab designed by Carmen Giger inspired by Egyptian sarcophagi, utilising Giger's designs from other projects, made from Galaxy natural stone from India, with gold mineral inclusions resembling a star-scattered night sky was used to evoke the idea of the Egyptian sky goddess

Giger's Grave Stone
(Source: Museum HR Giger on Facebook)

Source quotes
  1. Dedication Of HR Giger's Memorial Following months of planning, design, and sculpting work, the artist's closest friends felt honoured to be able to commemorate the completion of HR Giger's grave memorial with a small, nocturnal celebration on Saturday, November 19, 2016.
    The memorial, a tomb slab designed by Carmen Giger and inspired by ancient Egyptian sarcophagi, was sculpted from a Galaxy dimension stone. Notwithstanding the challenges arising from the requirements and restrictions imposed by the Commune de Gruyères, we were determined to complete this monument true to HR Giger's unique spirit. It was to be as if created by his hand.
    Carmen Giger: "We selected this particular stone because its golden mineral inclusions resemble a star-scattered night sky; they evoke Nut, the Egyptian goddess of the sky, rendered by Hansruedi in his painting «Hieroglyphics». Said painting, loved so much by him, was our original choice for a grave adornment, but it was rejected by the Commune de Gruyères.
    The profile framing the stone was shaped in accordance with the shape of a small, wonderful wooden table designed and built by Hansruedi as a final exam at the Zurich Art and Design College."
    We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to all those who helped in realizing this ambitious project, particularly to sculptors Roli Graf and Willy Sager, who worked on the stone itself.
    HR Giger's grave site is located Gruyères, Switzerland, a mere few steps from the Museum HR Giger and the Giger Bar. It is open to the public.
    Atelier HR Giger
    Museum HR Giger
  2. Fertigstellung des Grabmals des Künstlers HR Giger (1940 – 2014) Nach Monaten der Planung, Gestaltung und Ausarbeitung konnte die Fertigstellung von HR Gigers Grabmal am Samstag, dem 19. November 2016, im Kreise der engsten Freunde des Künstlers in einer kleinen, nächtlichen Feier angemessen gewürdigt werden.
    Das Grabmal, eine von Carmen Giger entworfene Grabplatte nach antik-ägyptischem Vorbild, wurde aus einem aus Indien stammenden Galaxy-Naturstein herausgearbeitet. Trotz der eine ganz besondere Herausforderung darstellenden Vorgaben und Einschränkungen von Seiten der Gemeinde Gruyères, war es unsere feste Absicht, dieses Grabmal im Sinne von HR Giger zu verwirklichen, so dass es sich auch um ein Werk aus seiner eigenen Hand handeln könnte.
    Carmen Giger: "Wir suchten diesen Stein aus, weil er mit den goldenen Mineralien wie ein sternenübersäter Nachthimmel aussieht, wie die ägyptische Göttin des Nachthimmels, Nut, die Hansruedi im Bild «Hieroglyphics» darstellte. Dieses Bild, welches er so liebte, war ursprünglich unsere erste Wahl, wurde jedoch von der Commune de Gruyères verworfen.
    Die Form des Rahmens ist einem kleinen aber wunderbaren Tisch entnommen, den Hansruedi als Abschlussarbeit für die Kunstgewerbeschule Zürich modellierte und schreinerte."
    Den Personen, die dieses anspruchsvolle Projekt ermöglichten, gebührt unser tiefster Dank; ganz besonders gilt dies für die Bildhauer Roli Graf und Willy Sager, die den Stein bearbeiteten.
    Das Grab von HR Giger befindet sich in Gruyères/FR, nur wenige Schritte vom Museum HR Giger und der Giger Bar entfernt. Es ist öffentlich zugänglich.
    Atelier HR Giger
    Museum HR Giger

    Google Translation
    Completion of the tomb of the artist HR Giger (1940 - 2014)After months of planning, design and elaboration, the completion of HR Gigers Tomb on Saturday, November 19, 2016, was appropriately acknowledged in the circle of the artist's closest friends in a small, nocturnal celebration.The tombstone, designed by Carmen Giger according to the ancient Egyptian model, was worked out of a Galaxy natural stone from India. Despite the specific requirements and limitations of the commune of Gruyères, it was our firm intention to realize this monument in the sense of HR Giger so that it could also be a work from his own hand.Carmen Giger: "We looked for this stone because it looks like a star-studded post-giant with the golden minerals, like the Egyptian goddess of the night sky , Nut, which Hansruedi depicted in the picture" Hieroglyphics. "This image, which he so loved, was original Our first choice, but was rejected by the Commune de Gruyères.The form of the frame is taken from a small but wonderful table, which Hansruedi modeled and shouted as final work for the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich. "The people who made this challenging project deserve our deepest thanks; This is especially true of the sculptors Roli Graf and Willy Sager, who worked on the stone.The tomb of HR Giger is located in Gruyères / FR, just a few steps from the Giger Museum and the Giger Bar. It is publicly accessible.Workshop HR GigerMuseum HR Giger
  3. Carmen Scheifele-Giger: Three stages of the alien, now in the hold was put into a pyramid and on top of it all was Nut the Egyptian goddess of the night sky with the stars in her belly and I think that was really beautiful (Memory: The origins of Alien)
  4. Will Linn: You see being born from her, the heavens and in many ways this becomes and image of the alien giving birth to this species that could devour the heavens.

    Nut represents the Duat itself: the realm of dead, the realm of night, the realm of the stars, this is where the sun goes every night, this is where the soul goes between life and death. We're in the alien's domain in this whole story.
    (Memory: The origins of Alien)

No comments:

Post a comment