Wednesday 16 March 2016

Hommage an HR Giger - Fabrik der Künste - Hamburg

Early in 2016 I heard that there was going to be a HR Giger exhibition held in Hamburg at the Fabrik der Künste (which hosted a previous Giger exhibition in 2012). I began doing some research and looking for details, but the exhibition hadn't even been officially announced yet, so I held fire, not wanting to get excited over the first exhibition since Gigers death if it wasn't actually taking place. After a couple of days, the official news appeared, and I permitted myself to get excited and hopeful of attending. Due a weekend away, me and my partner decided it was the perfect excuse for another Giger Pilgrimage and booked flights to Hamburg.

Having been to Germany a number of times, but never to Hamburg, I had no idea what to expect from the city itself. Apart from, I suspected; cold. Having been to Berlin in winter before and having to wear 2 coats and still being chilled to the bone, I packed accordingly for a North Eastern German winter. As we made our descent towards Hamburg, one glimpse of the snow covered fields and I knew Id made the right decision.

As usual I had planned the trip with military precision, with maps, museums and opening times in abundance. Unfortunately a few of those got left behind in England, so there was some confusion over the opening times of the Exhibition. After arriving 3 hours early, and cursing myself profusely,  we returned after a few beers and a late breakfast and all was resolved.

The Fabrik der Künste was quiet and peaceful, with only a few other people visiting the Exhibition during our time there, giving me the chance to study and absorb all of the pieces on display in silent reflection. I'd made it to the second floor before discovering that photography was permitted within the Exhibition (I'm so used to visiting museums where photography's not allowed I hadn't even asked). So I seized the chance to capture the pieces on display and preserve my memory if the exhibition.

The exhibition had a good variety of Giger's work on display, from early sketches and paintings, to pieces increasing in size and complexity, pieces from key series such as Passagen and New York City, as well as sculptures, furniture and prints. The exhibition is a must see for any Giger fanatic, but is also accessible to those with limited knowledge of his work, with timelines outlining his career and screenings of 'Dark Star' providing visitors with a glimpse into Giger's world.

There were many pieces on display from private collections which I've never seen before in the flesh, and may never do so again. Studying their detail and layering was an incredible, moving experience. I already knew from my visit to Château St. Germain that no books or prints can prepare you for the reality of the layers, light and dark, shading and details within Giger's work. It was wonderful to once again have the opportunity to study my heroes work up close and appreciate its beauty and unique honesty.

As well as having the chance to see private pieces such as 'National Park' and 'The Magus', I also felt very fortunate to finally see some of Giger's large sculpture work, such as the San Gottardo Biomechanoids. I have long dreamed of seeing the Zodiac fountain at Giger's home in Zurich, but I'm doubtful I'll ever get the chance, so it was great to see some of the sculptures which are part of the fountain up close.

The pilgrimage was another incredibly rewarding trip to see the work of my hero and appreciate his genius. The exhibition was well curated, cohesive and so enjoyable we visited twice. I reveled in the chance to buy some books for my collection. I would have loved to have taken home the large 'Female Torso' in polished Aluminum, but alas my lottery numbers are as illusive as ever.

Giger, Forever.


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