Atomkinder - Cartoons 1960-1967 - H. R. Giger

Rotland Books


H. R. Giger - Atomkinder - Cartoons 1960-1967 / Foreword by Steven Heller, intro by Philippe Kaenel / 140 page paperback, color and black + white illustrations, published December 2022 by Rotland Press


Between the years 1960 and 1967, before developing Biomechanical figuration and the hybridization of grace and barbarity, before mastering the use of the airbrush, before the world-building design work for the film Alien, the artist H.R. Giger (1940-2014) created a series of absurd and satirical cartoons that appeared in a number of Swiss and German alternative and underground publications. During this formative period, while training as an architectural draftsman, and an industrial and interior designer, Giger began drawing a series of cartoons in the margins of building plans. These drawings were then published, introducing his work to an audience for the first time.

Of these published works, the Atomkinder or “Atomic Children,” proved to be a consequential artistic development. A cartoon cycle depicting the children of a nuclear war whose warped physiognomy compliments corrupted unethical behavior, the Atomkinder form the basis of a burgeoning artistic philosophy—the critique of an absurd capitalist-industrialist society overrun with rationalist death machinery and contaminated with irrational decline. Importantly, this early work is rife with an absurdist sensibility and a biting black humor that would take root throughout the artist’s remaining oeuvre. This is the first stand-alone publication to focus on the early, black-humored cartoons of H.R. Giger.

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