Sunday, 8 August 2010

HR Giger in Vienna - May 2006

Thirteen whole long months passed by between my arrival home from the HR Giger Retrospective in Prague and my departure once more, for this next expedition of great adventure, to Vienna in Austria.

There is no possible presence of any doubt in my mind, that this expedition to Vienna or that this exhibition of Giger Art at the Kunsthaus Wien, were by far my favourites of each, Expeditions and Exhibitions.

All of this was enjoyed during the latter part of May 2006, with benefit from the warmth during daytime hours that was given to us by the welcoming sunshine which surrounded us all during the days in Vienna.

This too, a gathering once more for Giger Gang members from around the world. A chance for familiar faces to meet again and for warm welcomes to be given to new attendants also making their own journeys of adventure. All of whom were in search of satisfying their own desires for Giger Art and discovery.

Giger Gang members old and new, who joined together for these days in Vienna, were: Carlos Arenas, Les Barany, Alf Battig, Matthias Belz, Aline Berseth, Kelly and Joe Mitchell-Brill with their young son Daniel, Vincent Castiglia, David Jahn, Hans Kunz, Ingrid Lehner, Erwin Tschofen and Sandra Muller, Michael Verhoef, Petter Wallabo and Janina Magnusson, Marco Witzig, Rizyard Wychowski.

We travelled around Vienna and between our destinations within our group of attending members listed here. Others would travel to our arranged destinations where we would all meet together and from then, be as One.

Kunsthaus Wien is both a remarkable and totally functional building.
Originally a furniture factory belonging to the Thonet Brothers, and built in 1892, this building was converted into a place of permanent exhibition for the paintings and Works of Fredensreich Hundertwasser between 1989 and 1991.

Upon completion of refurbishing this building, and to the present day, the first two floors of Kunsthaus Wien are used as museum space for exhibiting Hundertwasser's Work.

The third and fourth floor exhibition spaces are used for displaying Work, on a temporary basis, from artists around the world who hold International Stature.
It was within the spaces of these two upper floors of Kunsthaus Wien that this latest Retrospective of HR Giger's Work was being held.

Titled simply "Giger in Wien" the exhibition featured paintings and sculptures from HR Giger's overwhelming catalogue of Work that would emphasise focus on the human being.

On the evening of May 23rd 2006, and after most of the attending crowd had left the premises, I made my own tour of this exhibition with my Canon EOS camera.

A selection from the photos you see here can be found in the "Exhibitions" section of

Ernst Fuchs Museum Visit

For the day that followed the public opening of "Giger in Wien" at the Kunsthaus Wien, a very special event had been planned and organised for us all.
Our group of world travellers, artists, collectors and publishers were to join company with HR Giger and his wife Carmen on a private tour of the Ernst Fuchs Museum.

Professor Ernst Fuchs is an Austrian born visionary artist and one of the original founders of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism, which he formed with others in 1946.
He is known to have had great influence on the work of HR Giger, as well as other such unique artists as Victor Safonkin, Brigid Marlin and Alex Grey.

HR Giger and Professor Ernst Fuchs are close and long standing friends and are known to greatly admire each other's vast catalogue of works.
An introductory text written by Fuchs, entitled "The Archaeology of Toady and Tomorrow" can be found in two of HR Giger's books "Retrospective 1964 - 1984" and "Biomechanics".
A poem entitled "Poem for HR Giger" appears on the opening pages of HR Giger's "Retrospective 1964 - 1984".

In February of 2004, HR Giger hosted an exhibition for Ernst Fuchs at the HR Giger Museum Gallery in Gruyeres, Switzerland.

Coincidentally to all of this, Ernst Fuchs spent a period of his life during the 1950s working and living in Paris with fellow artist Fredensreich Hundertwasser, and it is this latter artist whose Museum was hosting the HR Giger exhibition "Giger in Wien" that we had all initially travelled to be a part of and to enjoy.

The Ernst Fuchs Museum is located in the Viennese suburban area of Hutteldorf.
The building was originally designed and constructed in 1889 by the architect Otto Wagner and hence became known as the Otto Wagner Villa.

Saved from becoming a mere ruin of its original architecture, the villa was purchased in 1972 by Ernst Fuchs and opened up as a museum and place of permanent exhibition for his Work in 1988 so as to celebrate and coincide with the villa's 100th anniversary.
Interior decorations of the villa, sculptures and paintings alike and all unique creations from the hands of Ernst Fuchs, would transport the visitor to an uncharted location, as though yet to be discovered, but still with visible ripples in time to a place of ancient regal elegance and splendour.

Paintings as large as interior walls of the villa would consume the viewer upon their gaze and appear to be self illuminated, as though a light of great intensity was being shone to the back of the painting so as to give this impression of illumination.

Outside of the villa, sculptures, designs and decor adorn areas of the gardens of the Museum house.
Vibrant colours that would glare back to the eye of the viewer shimmered in reflections in the sheen of lacquer applied to certain areas of outside decor.

Pictured here is one such exterior building, known as "The Pump House".

The intensity of colours and lacquer coatings give the impression of water flowing to a pool below, which lies beneath the steps leading to the ornate grandeur of this highly decorative building.

Our group spent many hours at this unique location in Vienna, absorbing its surroundings and feeling occasionally as though our surroundings were absorbing us.

Leaving the Ernst Fuchs Museum behind was not an easy task.
However, we made our eventual departure in a convoy of taxis and assembled again at a restaurant famed for its menu of authentic Viennese dishes.
Once there, we sat in our small groups at tables and exchanged our tales of wonder from that day's unforgettable experience.

For your own viewing of the Ernst Fuchs Villa, upon where it is possible to take 'Virtual Tours' of the Museum, please follow the attached link below.

Without doubt, as to this day, by far my favourite Expedition into Gigerland and by far my favourite Exhibition of Giger Art.

I still remember my closing lines from an email that I sent out to Giger Gang members shortly after my return home....
"My head is still stuck in the courtyard cafe of Kunsthaus Wien, drinking strong European coffee and smoking one of Les Barany's Marlboro cigarettes".

The memory lives on.