Internal Fears of procreation.
Updated: 5 days ago
The creation of life is fascinating and welcoming a new child into the world is a life changing event. However the decision to have children is complex and their are many different aspects to consider. Taking part in a conversation about the fear of childbirth brought about concerns of the physical complications a woman could suffer. I was interested in how the human psyche and the world we live in might also effect our views towards sex.
With this in mind and inspired by the work of H.R.Giger and the film Alien I experimented with surrealism and began work on a painting.
"Mechanical Ammonite" Tony Jackson
The Movie "Alien".
Alien is an iconic sci-fi horror movie directed by Ridley Scott and released in 1979. Written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett, it follows the crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo that discover a mysterious derelict structure on an unknown moon. After investigating the structure they continue their journey through space but find themselves up against an aggressive and deadly organism set loose on the Nostromo.
The original Alien movie developed into a popular franchise with multiple spin offs. Not only in the form of sequels and prequels but also novels, comics and most notably video games. The movie became a fundamental reference point and producers of Films and Video Games still to borrow ideas from it to this day with continuing success.
Most of the film is set on board the ship. The cold, eerily silent and uninhabitable atmosphere of space makes their situation more claustrophobic and foreboding. Hence the tagline, "In space no one can hear you scream". The only time some members of the crew set foot outside its blowing a storm, they are confined to space suits and they cant see more than a few feet in front of them.
Artistic direction and underlying themes.
Great films are successful on multiple levels and Alien is no exception. Amazing direction, wonderful acting and a haunting soundtrack. However, what interests me the most and think are most important are its underlying themes and art style.
There were only seven characters in story, therefore director Ridley Scott sought to hire a strong cast so he could focus energy on the films visual style. Shusett had purposely written the generic roles for the characters stating, "The crew is unisex and all parts are interchangeable for men and woman". This allowed complete freedom to interpret the story in any way and cast accordingly. With this in mind actors were cast under the concept "truckers in space". They wanted the crew to resemble real working astronauts. It's how I imagine offshore workers would appear but set on an oil rig floating through space.
"Necronom IV" H.R.Giger
Surrealist artist H.R.Giger was part of a special effects team that worked on the film. He was best known for his surreal airbrushed paintings that merged human physiques with various machine forms in an art style known as "biomechanical". He heavily influenced the design style and contributed greatly to the overall success of the film. Gigers images mixed biological and mechanical forms and depicted elements of sexual perversion, decay even satanic symbolism. These darkly horrifying images were perfectly suited to the themes in Alien.
The actual Alien in the film was directly inspired by Gigers painting "Necronom IV". Giger designed the adult alien based on this image as well as the egg, chestburster alien, alien ship, space jockey and planet. I would go as far to say it may have also influenced the design of Nostromo and various other elements. There are various theories surrounding the themes of the movie. Ultimately it is a Sci-fi horror set aboard a ship in space that is inescapably claustrophobic. However, there is no escaping that sex is a major theme. Or rather the fear, anxiety, disease and discomfort surrounding sex. The alien in its various forms appears as violent creatures with visible symbols of both male and female anatomy. An unknown and unpredictable monster set amongst sexually charged themes such as impregnation, birth, rape and sexual violence. If you're a fan of the Alien movie or just interested, I found an interesting explanation at plotandtheme.com thats goes into much more detail. Check out the link below.
plotandtheme.com - The Xenomorph and the Perversion of Sex in “Alien”
Painting the fear.
I began sketching organic and mechanical shapes. I was also interested in x-rays and fossils as the skeletal structures, forms and colour themes of Gigers paintings looked as though they may have been influenced with them. I sketch of the Female Reproductive system as I was interested in using literal symbols and imagery to illustrate my themes in the painting. The human body is complex and fascinating but its inner workings are mostly unknown and hidden from view. This unknown and unpredictable truth is frightening and felt similar to the symbolic appearance and nature of the films Alien. The design for "Internal Fears of Procreation" was based around this image. The aim was to create a futuristic surgical machine with a combination of frightful elements and symbols to illustrate sexual anxiety and fear of procreation. H.R.Giger himself had a fear of over population.
"What scares me the most is over population, with all it horrifying side effects. Such as epidemic, mass hysteria, famine and total environment destruction. For me the greatest criminals against mankind are those, who with the help of religion or false ethics, forbid the pill, prevent abortions and hinder old people from dying a redeeming death." Gigers Necronomicon (1975)
Taking several months to complete and measuring 60 inch x 60 inch it is still the largest I have painted to date. Watered down Acrylic paint in thin layers created a smooth finish. Textured areas were applied with a dry brush.
Internal Fears of Procreation - Acrylic on Canvas - 60 inch x 60 inch
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