Sunday, 15 June 2008

HR Giger in Prague - April 2005

Gradually but steadily, as my travels progressed further and my encounters with others continued, I started to become aware of more than just the seemingly infinite catalogue of work from the ultimately creative palette of HR Giger.
Only four months later than my second visit to Paris, when I attended the ceremony of Giger's receiving of "La Medaille de la Ville de Paris", I embarked on my journey to the Czech Republic's historic capital of Prague for the next Exhibition of Giger Art.
This major retrospective of HR Giger's artwork, was held at Nardoni Technicke Muzeum and covered two floors of the museum's interior, together with screenings of Giger's early and more obscure film collaborations, shown in a spacious ground floor theatre.
During my time at the National Technical Museum and through encounters with others who attended this event, it was becoming increasingly apparent to me, that I was by no means alone in my following of these exhibitions.
Through introductions made, and with my enthusiasm to meet all concerned, I found myself being welcomed into the enclave of friends and followers known so appropriately as, The Giger Gang.

Devotees to the preservation and promotion of Giger Art all, I was able to share empathy and affiliation with Walter Ackermann, Les Barany, Alf Battig, Matthias Belz, David Jahn, Hans Kunz, Robert Stevens, Erwin Tschofen and Sandra Muller, Michael Verhoef, Ben Wahhh and Marco Witzig.
It was within the company of these people, and with a sense of belonging, that my time spent in Prague became the first major Exhibition of Giger Art that I enjoyed as part of this family of followers, thus allowing me to experience the progression of events surrounding this Exhibition, from start to finish.

On my first day in Prague, I met with Les Barany at the hotel where most of us were to be staying.
Soon after our first coffee in the hotel lobby, we took the short walk to the National Technical Museum where Jiri Zeman, Head of Public Relations, greeted Les and myself before guiding us on a tour of the museum's vast and permanent exhibits, showing industrial and engineering marvels of human achievement.
Straight after this, we began our tour of the two floors of this building that held the exhibition of Giger Art, while last preparations and final installations were being made by the museum staff, for the approaching opening event.
I then started my own tour of this exhibition with my Canon Eos 35mm unleashed and released from its casing.
I truly experienced freedom to roam across these two floors of Giger Art exhibits, as I weaved my way in between the blue, cloth covered cubes that Giger's paintings were suspended across all four sides of.
During the late morning of this day, I was the only person in attendance with camera as I travelled over the two floors of this Exhibition.
The photographs you see here are a part of the results from my own endeavours to cover this Exhibition, some of which you will find in the “Exhibitions” section of and others of which you will not have seen before.

For the evening of this first day in Prague, our group of Giger Gang members took the invitation to attend an arranged night in the club Futura, a venue that seemed to elude all locals' sense of direction when approached by our group during our search for this night club.
Despite this, we did all reach Futura, relying more on the intuitive internal guidance system of Ben Wahhh and, once inside this venue, we met with Carmen and HR Giger for some duration of that evening.
A great night was had by all and live entertainment was supplied by Bruno Ferrari, for whose band David Jahn performed acoustic and electronic percussion through his drum kit of hybrid technology.

The evening of April 13th 2005 saw the first opening night of the exhibition and was a VIP event, only giving admittance to those who were in possession of the invitation card.
This event attracted massive attendance by all those invited and the evening's proceedings included a showing of the 1920 silent film “The Golem”, based on the book by Gustav Meyerink, and a favourite subject of interest for Giger, in which acts of magic are used to bring life to an artificial intelligence and life form.

During the days spent in Prague for the opening of this exhibition, Giger actually visited the grave of Rabbi Judah Loew who, according to the legend, created and brought life to The Golem.
This visit to the Prague Old Jewish Cemetery was captured on film by David Jahn for a Czech produced documentary in which Giger talks about this subject of great interest.
Further evidence of Giger's fascination for this subject can be seen in the large number of Golem and Prague related sketches that have been produced by the Artist.

Other screenings in the museum's theatre, that would run throughout the duration of the Exhibition, were HR Giger's early years' film productions of "Swiss Made" and "The Second Celebration of The Four".

Strong representation from the Prague Hell's Angels was felt and seen inside the National Technical Museum, as well as around the outside areas of the museum.
One could not help but notice, some members' presence being very apparent, as they stood as guardians to areas within the Exhibition, and to some specific works of art by HR Giger.
There are strong connections here, and a photograph of Giger with the Prague Hell's Angels can be found on page 230 of the 25th Anniversary edition of the “www HR Giger com” publication, from Taschen.

During one afternoon of our time spent in Prague, Giger Gang members who were present at this time were able to meet up with Carmen and HR Giger to attend a gathering at the Swiss Ambassador's residence.
This was a very memorable afternoon.
We enjoyed drinks and food of a delightful nature that were brought to us and served as we stood on the balcony of the Swiss Ambassador's residence in Prague.
A photograph of HR Giger and the Swiss Ambassador standing together on this same balcony, can be found on page 232 of the 25th Anniversary edition of the “www HR Giger com” publication, from Taschen.

If the young couple pictured here would happen to see themselves in this Blog, and would like to be identified here, please contact me via email in My Profile and I could add your names.