a) Artistic influence
If one is looking for complete originality in Giger's work, he would admit that his work was not entirely new. He had been influenced by Anton Gaudi, Alfred Kubin, Salvador Dali and first and foremost, Hieronymous Bosch. When he did his work, everything would influence him and it would go directly into his work. His art was a kind of diary that he had no control over. He would have a strong idea and then out it would come in the picture. He would compare the way it happened to a seismograph.
b) The world of his paintings
The world that would show itself in his work, he thought, could be another place in this world, or another world in space, or perhaps the future. There were visions of sickness and death in his work, he didn't like the idea of this sort of thing but he accepted that it was in his paintings
c) Environment suit
Giger talked about the idea of his biomechanoids when interviewed the documentary "Alien Evolution", in relation to the Necronom paintings. He stated that he wanted to make something that would be somehow human but that would also be robot-like, a kind of human that is protected from all kinds of external forces, be they weapons, radiation, or whatever else. Instead of having their bones on the inside, they have them, partly at least, on the outside like an exo-skeleton, so the idea was also brought forth in another version of the translation that they were indeed protected by a suit of bone. He mixed the ideas together, his world of bones along with technical structures, and that's how the biomechanoids came about, from the interplay between the ideas of biological and the mechanical. There was also the time he saw his mother linked up to hospital machinery and would have hip implants for her hips, this would help him see a way that technology could benefit a human and thus closer integration between the human and technology could be a good thing just as prosthetic limbs provide aid for a human being.
d) Transforming apparitions
Some of these biomechanoid apparitions would be made up from vaguely recognisable elements from various ancient mythologies, sculptures, descriptions from novels and various other pictures that he admired. For example The Fisher Price Cot Activity centre bizarrely served as a starting point for Passage Temple Entrance.
Necronom IV which inspired the creature design in Alien appeared to be inspired by the lit parts of the face of Steiner-Prag's golem illustration, decorated with elements from an ethereal painting by Ernst Fuchs of a sphinx, and transformed into an Egyptian Eye of Horus, while Necronom V turned out to be an assembly of folk art sculptures from Easter Island merged with a female version of the human figure from Pakal Votan's tomb lid, turning her into a motorcycle rider pierced through the back by a passenger's body, and her head merges with one of the tusk like forms on the tomb lid to become an elongated head so well known as the head of the beast of Alien. The way this apparition stretches out across the picture in two levels might bring one to recall Dali's Soft Construction with boiled beans (Premonition of a Spanish Civil War).
Meanwhile other Steiner-Prag illustrations from the Golem would serve as the foundations for a few other of his painting. The arches, railings and stairs in Steiner-Prag's Golem drawing "Vice" overlayed by his drawing "Aaron Wassertrum" featuring a Jewish man with a large nose wearing a hat sitting in front of his junk shop with its intricate detailed junk over the door are transformed into jet fighter pilot like humanoids merged with the breathing apparatus and mechanisms of their vehicles in Giger's Biomechanoid II. Necronom III would reveal itself to be a perhaps a humanoid in a Lancaster Bomber gunner pod that slowly was transforming into Max Ernst's painting Celebes.
In Mordor IV, we find chains of transforming thoughts, we find that a mermaid has been transformed into a manatee-manitou-mantaray, but instead of the manatee he has given us a sealion, instead of the manta-ray he has given us a sting-ray mouth, and instead of the manitou, he has given us some phantom of the Enigma of William Tell merged with the lead singer of Jethro Tull in one of his poses , the face with the singers eyes popping out as he blows away as a saxophone performing the songs of the album Aqualung and the saxophone itself becomes an ancient aqualung in itself.
Australian aboriginal cave art has turned up in paintings, such as the central figure of Assuan and the stick like figures imbedded in Biomechanical Landscape (1976)
e) Giger the bee
The way that Giger chooses the works that would be his starting point and then his brain stretches and transforms the source images to become what they are on the canvas hold an undeniable secret. Giger's friend Bijan Alaam knew that Giger was a great reader of esoterical, paraesoterical and Egyptian mythology books, and saw how he was working away like a bee, taking nectar from many visual and literary flowers, absorbing the various elements and integrating them in his very unique and personal style as if he transforms them into his very own honey.
f) An open mind about these things
The end result of these things however they were to be described would just be characters turned out to be biomechanoids which had a robot like quality, perhaps the golem lays at the foundation of many of these biomechanoids, perhaps there are the Doctor Who biomechanoids such as Cybermen, Ice Warriors and so on from distant planets, but Giger has evolved them into creatures of his own world, and that may be a very distant world indeed. However whatever was created was always going to be the product of the human imagination and it doesn't hurt to have a jovial dislocated point of view about what goes on in his works, as much of what he is trying to draw or paint arrives from such dislocation, although within his style and way of thinking.
g) Incorporating bones into sculptures and furniture
With sculptures and furniture, he would be content to incorporate actual human bones into it. Bones would give him ideas for organic forms. There were the human skulls that came from India that he used for the sculpture of the Alien beast. Later in 1980, Giger went as far as to obtain eight complete human skeletons from India and plans to incorporate them into chairs. His idea was that these people would rather be integrated into his furniture than be nameless in the grave. And strange skeletons of one sort of another would turn up at his house to be used one way or another.
- Giger: These paintings, Necronom 4, 5 and earlier ones too, they came about as follows: I wanted to make something that would be somehow human, and yet, would also be robot-like, that is to say a kind of human being that is protected from all kinds of alien influences, be they weapons, or from radiation or from all kinds of things. Some kind of beings from whose appearance it's obvious that they've experienced something or other, and who in fact, instead of having their bones on the inside, they have them, partly at least, practically on the outside like an exoskeleton, and well, bones and ribs and simply all kinds of bones have always held their great fascination for me, because of their organic character and their affinity to Art Nouveau of which I am very fond , and I mixed these together, this world of bones, I mixed it with technical things; that's how these biomechanoids came about, that is from the biological and mechanical, and interplay of the two. And my characters turned out to be these biomechanoids which actually have a robot like quality, they could have been from another planet. And since I made that ET for Freddy Murer in '69, I was still interested in the idea: what it would look like, if life from outside of us, what would that look like. The idea that another civilisation , other technical possibilities, well simply, what would that look like. And of course that's so tremendously.... the possibilities are so varied and great that one has to constantly remind oneself this creature had actually come from the brain of a person from this planet, and so it is very human; it isn't possible to make anything extra-terrestrial, since everything is created in our brain and thereby remains very human. (From a report of what Giger said in his interview with Alien Evolution)
- In the long version of Alien Evolution his words in Germans are translated into English subtitles that read "I wanted to make something that would be somehow human but that would also be robot-like, a kind of human that is protected from all kinds of external forces, be they weapons, radiation or whatever else. Instead of having their bones on the inside, they have them, partly at least, on the outside like an exo-skeleton. I mixed these together, this world of bones , mixed it with technical things, that's how these 'biomechanoids' came about from the interplay of the biological and the mechanical."
- In the shorter version of Alien Evolution, the man who does an English voice over during the Giger's section saying "I wanted to make something that would be somehow human but that would also be robot-like, that is to say a kind of human being that is protected by bone. And I mixed these together, this world of bones , I mixed it with technical things, that's how these 'biomechanoids' came about, that is from the biological and the mechanical interplay of the two."
- Bijan Aalam: As I said, like a bee he absorbed elements from many visual and literary flowers and integrated them in his very and unique personal style. Go on finding his sources, which means discover all the various flowers he made his honey with. It' s highly interesting. (Facebook18th March 2015)
- Bijan Aalam: He was always very much interested in esoterics, especially egyptian mythology. and was like a bee, taking samples from many flowers and transforming them into his very own honey. (Facebook 17th March 2015)
- HR Giger: My stuff is not completely fresh. I have been influenced by Gaudi, Kubin, Dali and, first and foremost, Hieronymous Bosch. When I do my work, everything influences me, it comes directly into my work. (Clive Barker's A-Z of Horror)
- HR Giger: My art is kind of a diary that I have no control over, I have a strong idea and it comes out, as on a seismograph. (Giger Rhymes with 'meager'—which Describes the Normalcy in This Oscar Winner's Weird Life. By Dawn Maria Clayton, June 16, 1980, Vol. 13 No. 24By Dawn Maria Clayton (http://www.people.com/)
- Giger has also obtained eight complete human skeletons from India and plans to incorporate them into chairs. "These people would rather be integrated into my furniture than be nameless in the grave." Understandably, the Gigers rarely entertain at home. (Giger Rhymes with 'meager'—which Describes the Normalcy in This Oscar Winner's Weird Life. By Dawn Maria Clayton, June 16, 1980, Vol. 13 No. 24By Dawn Maria Clayton (http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20076731,00.html
- A Giger scene "could be another place in this world, or another world in
space, or it could be the future," he says. "I hate sickness and death.
But these things are in my paintings." (Giger
Rhymes with 'meager'—which Describes the Normalcy in This Oscar
Winner's Weird Life. By Dawn Maria Clayton, June 16, 1980, Vol. 13 No.
24By Dawn Maria Clayton (http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20076731,00.html