H.R. Giger is an established master in the realm of sci-fi, surreal art, and visionary art and is the inventor of the Alien creatures from the famous film series Aliens. Unlike other artist focused on non ordinary states of consciousness Giger displays the hellish realms of the subconscious, or the bad trip.
H.R. Giger shows the incredible pain of alienation from each other and nature. Displaying humanoid figures who are deformed part alien, part machine engaged in sadomasochistic eroticism. H.R. Giger is a master of displaying the dark side of human nature and the dark side of the inner journey. H.R. Giger himself is not a dark and twisted person but rather intelligent, friendly and humorous. He sees his work as art therapy allowing him to come to resolution with the dark side of his psyche. His artwork often triggers emotions and reactions with-in the psyche of the viewer challenging them to understand themselves more deeply.
Many of H.R. Giger’s work deal with the themes of birth, sex, violence, alienation and death, these same themes are major topics of discussion in our contemporary times. The images of Giger do seem to reflect the mentality of the 20th century. The ‘malignant violence’ of modern culture is unique to the human kingdom and shows the shadow side of the human mind emerging into the material affairs of the world. In fact, now humanity is the number one threat to human survival. Giger’s work deals directly with the deep psychological drives that may expose the core wounds afflicting human kind. Humans have become a part of the machines they have create and they alienated themselves from the natural world and from our mind and body.
Famous psychological researcher Stanislav Grof specializes in non-ordinary states of consciousness and utilizing their healing potential; he has written a lengthy essay ( can be read here: http://stanislavgrof.com/pdf/Visionary.World.Giger.pdf) on the psychology of the realms portrayed in Giger’s work. Grof has experienced and has heard recollections from his clients describing the states of being represented by Giger’s work. Clients in deep trace from breathwork or psychedelics will experience extreme terror, fear and anxiety along the path the healing deep psychological wounds. Many times these images of the grotesque are related to overwhelming stressful events from the past which have left a traumatic imprint upon the clients mind. In order to help clients heal from trauma they must face the full charge of their experience in order for it to be resolved and healed.
Grof’s research has revealed that the birthing process itself causes considerable trauma for the majority of humanity. In non-ordinary states of consciousness the person will relive the biographical traumas and later, may, find them linked to the birthing process, in essence the individual was traumatized from birth and the absence of integration of these traumas has led to cultural pathology. The various phases of the birth process have traumatic impact and are associated with visions, sensations, and behavioral patterns of a certain character. The visions related to this traumatic material in the psyche and the images associated with it are coincidentally depicted by H.R. Giger.
H.R. Giger uses the symbols of inverted stars, coiling serpents and other symbols borrowed from spiritual traditions. These symbols show that he is still speaking of the spiritual journey but he is focused on processing and revealing the shadow side of the transcendent experience. As the spiritual energies increase the process of purification also intensifies and hidden secrets and unknown drives with-in our individual and collective consciousness move into our awareness. These visions of the shadow are so powerful that they often frighten people away from spiritual journey, psychedelics and their own mind leading one into a state of denial or repression. Repression of the material arising from the subconscious leads to pathology and ultimately one reaches a breaking point where these subconscious drives manifest externally . By processing the material which arises internally we can free ourselves from the need for these subconscious drives to enter our external world.
Stanley Krippner likes to speak about the shadow side of the spiritual and mystical experience when he reminds us that many are driven to kill by an experience with God. They will believe that god told them to kill a certain person or to commit suicide and they will go out and kill. H.R. Giger reminds us all of this shadow side of the spiritual realm and even shows how art therapy can help to heal these wounds and make our spiritual experiences positive transformations. He is a example of how these repressed realms of our minds can become a work of art.
Links to H.R. Giger
H.R. Giger’s Necronomicon, Morpheus International; First US Edition edition (January 1, 1993)
H.R. Giger’s Necronomicon II, Morpheus international; first Us edition 1993.
H.R. Giger’s Biomechanics, Morpheus International; 2nd edition (January 1, 1993)
Stanislav Grof, The Visionary world of H.R. Giger, http://stanislavgrof.com/pdf/Visionary.World.Giger.pdf
HR Giger Icons by H. R. Giger and Stanislav Grof M.D. Ph.D. (Jun 1, 2002).
Stanley Krippner, audio interview at the institute of noetic sciences. http://noetic.org/library/video-interviews/stanley-krippner-interview/