This (semi) new exhibition provides another chance to see the work of HR Giger alongside freshly installed works by the German surrealist Hans Bellmer. Not much has changed downstairs where one of Giger’s penis-headed aliens (from the film Alien) still dominates the hexagonal room. Upstairs, darkly lit Giger photographs have been hung alongside Bellmer’s drawings and prints of naked female bodies.
In one, a crying woman’s face is transplanted onto a scene showing anal intercourse. In another, a woman’s body constructed out of lego-like segments pulls open her intestines and inspects her empty pregnant cavity. These small, exquisite sketches are disturbing, but it’s hard to tear your eyes away from them.
Giger was heavily influenced by the work of Bellmer and seeing how his biomechanical figures, with their interlinking limbs and dark psychedelia, evolved is a revelation. But where Giger’s graphic sexual scenes (there’s a content warning before entering one room) are erotically violent, Bellmer’s carry emotional anguish and raise all manner of questions about objectification and power that the exhibition does not attempt to answer.
Bellmer always claimed his art was an act of subversion, a reaction against the Nazis’ cult of bodily perfection, but this feels more like male deviance. An extreme and complex exhibition that eats away at you long after you leave it.
Through Mar 20 Schinkel Pavillon, Mitte