a) Shaft Dreams
Architecture at HR Giger's childhood home led to dreams. The "shaft pictures" that he began to draw in 1966 had their origins in his nightmares from the time when he was sleeping badly. In the stairwell of his parents' house in Chur was a secret window, which gave onto the interior of the Three Kings Hotel next door and was always covered with a dingy brown curtain. In his dreams, this window was open and he saw gigantic bottomless shafts, bathed in a pale yellow light. On the walls were treacherous wooden stairways without banisters than led down into a yawning abyss. Since he took to drawing these imaginary chasms, the window of his dreams had remained firmly and definitely shut.
b) Cellar Dreams
Another place led to another set of dreams, Giger's family home's cellar that was approached by an old and musty spiral staircase, it led into a vaulted corridor. The hotel proprieter told him that there were two subterranean passages in Chur which led from the Bishop's palace down through the Reberg and beneath the town. Pert of one of the passages form the cellar of his Giger's home. The exit of the cellar of the hotel on the Riechspassage had previously been open and anyone who dared could descend for quite a way. Sometime previously however, it had been walled up as there was danger from subsidence. Giger only saw the locked door which inspired in him the most sinister images. In his dreams, these passages were open and led into a monstrous labyrinth where all kinds of dangers lay ahead of him. Almost every dream led Giger down the winding staircase into this magic world of the imagination
c) Descriptions of drawings
In those dream inspired drawings, he showed a table with limbless human bodies around a table with their legs replaced by draws extending from a table
Shaft No. 3 showed Leg bones extending from the water below and the hip joints transforming into crouched figures .
Shaft no.4 Humans in Klu Klux Klan robes on a skewer like football players in a table top football game across a platform and one marching down the stairs carrying a dildo, approaching a humanoid with two heads.
- Shadowplayzine: Giger was born in 1940 in the small Swiss town of Chur, an "unbearable" place of "high mountains... and pretty bourgeois attitudes". Growing up there, he had nightmares in his parents house and would imagine "gigantic bottomless shafts bathing in a pale yellow light".(http://www.shadowplayzine.com, interview with Neville Drury, first published in Shadowzine #5, 1985)
- Giger: The 'Shaft' pictures , which I began to produce around 1966, have their origin in my dreams. I was sleeping badly at the time and was pursued by a series of nightmares. In the stairwell of my parents' house in Chur was a secret window, which gave onto the interior of the Three Kings Hotel next door, and was always covered with a dingy brown curtain. In my dreams, or nightly wanderings, the window was open and I saw gigantic bottomless shafts, bathed in pale yellow light. On the walls, steep and treacherous wooden stairways without bannisters led down into the yawning abyss. Another source of my fantasies was our cellar. Approached via an old and musty spiral staircase , it led into a vaulted corridor. As our neighbour, the hotel proprierter, told me, there were two subterranean passages in Chur that edt from the bishop's palace down through the Rebberg and beneath the town. Part of one of these passages formed our cellar. The exit from the cellar of the hotel on the Reichgasse had previously been open, and anyone who dared could descend for quite a way. Some time previously , however, it had been walled up, as there was a danger of subsidence. I saw only the locked door, which inspired me in the most sinister imaginings. In my dreams, however, these passages were open and led into a monstrous labyrinth, where all kinds of danger lay in wait for me. Almost every dream led me down the winding staircase into this magic world of the imagination , both attracting and intimidating me at the same time. (Giger's Necronomicon, p6)
- Interviewer: Ihre Heimatstadt Chur und ganz generell das Bündnerland Sie beeinflusst?
Your home town of Chur and in general the Grisons influenced you ?
Giger: Unsere Churer Wohnung mit den eindrücklichen Kellern hat mich sehr beein- flusst. Aber sie hätte gerade so gut in Zürich wie in Chur sein können. Beeinflusst haben mich auch die Alpen, das heisst Flims, woher meine Grossmutter stammt und wo ich manchmal zu Besuch war. Auch die Berge, der Wald sind wichtig für mich. Ich mag Chur, aber es hat nicht viel mit meiner Kunst zu tun. (SeedammKulturzentrum 17) (Translate: Our Chur apartment with the impressive cellars has me very influenced. But it could have been just as good in Zurich as in Chur. The Alps have Influenced me, i.e. Flims, where my grandmother came from and where I was visiting sometimes. The mountains, the forests are important to me. I like Chur, but it does not have much to do with my art.)
|Three Kings Hotel, Chur|