- Artist: H.R. Giger
- Title: Phallic Duress
- Media: Painting
- Dimensions: 72" X 42"
- Date: 1979
Swiss surrealist painter, sculptor and set designer, Hans Rudolf “Ruedi” Giger was born on February 5, 1940, and unfortunately dies on May 12, of this year. He was a part of the special effects team that won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects for their work on the design of the film Alien. For most of his career, Giger depicted nightmarish dreamscapes that were inspired by his night terrors. His first paintings were initiated as a form of art therapy (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._R._Giger). Giger challenged his art as a form of healing and balance in his life, and a way to express the disturbing imagery of his own suffering.
Giger’s work is visceral, bio-mechanical, and challengingly sexual in nature. It is as if the viewer is challenged with both the ugliness and beauty of sexuality at the same time (slowsoulburn.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/h-r-giger-phallic-duress/). He forces us to confront the attractiveness of violent and macabre acts of defilement and penetration, presenting absolutely alien subjects with sleek lines that are undeniably compelling.
The work presented, Phallic Duress, is a part of Giger’s own attempts to exercise the demons of his night terrors. The painting presents an image that should be horrific, but is somehow sensual and compelling. It is something a viewer might want to simultaneously turn away from, while at the same is challenged to study more fully and in depth. Undeniable, Giger had an incredible talent for exploring the aspects of horror we find most seductive.
Giger’s challenges the viewer to both be repulsed by, and strangely attracted to his art at the same time. It challenges us to look inside ourselves and ask why we see images of horror and violation as compelling, and it finds a way of forcing us to question our own views of aesthetic beauty.