I was staying for a few days in Barcelona at a friend’s place.Some of us sat on the floor talking, a new visitor appeared in sight. She walked towards me, said hello, and told me about her and her husband going to Morocco. Suddenly, she thrusted at me a bunch of keys. I looked up in question. She said the keys belonged to her place right by the sea in Cadaques.

“Go there”, she said.
Quite intriguing, all she added is that there was a boat there. I called my boyfriend in Paris, he took a plane to Cadaques…so the adventure began.

The place was in fact very nice, the Mediterranean blue as ever, the stones, oh well, no sand, we loved, enjoyed every part of it. Two days later, this man dressed in black from head to foot, carrying a suitcase, aside him a pretty woman, came through the door…

“Hello, when I come to Cadaques I always stay here.” What to say, he looked interesting.

“My name is…Hans Giger. I’m here to visit Salvador Dalí.”“You are…Hans Giger, who did Alien?”

Giger by Alex Kayser

“Yes, lady. I am Giger who did Alien, every part of it.”
A Swiss artist, his airbrush images of humans and machines linked together in what he called a cold “biochemical” relationship. He handed me two books I still have and keep preciously. Soon we learned the biochemical monsters he was creating were to come alive at night in the form of screams and loud noises coming from the bedroom.

One night, my boyfriend and I woke up in alarm, this time to a howling in the contiguous room, it was intense.You could guess these were sounds of desire and sounds of fear, how to know if they needed help, if they were even calling for it…

The next day Hans approached me and said “I want you to come into the room because you’re bound to hear us in the night, so you know nothing bad is going on.”

“Oh yes Hans, of course…”
The pretty girl sitted on a bench was soaking wet, she said hello, I said hello. We talked a bit until I left the room, somehow it felt better about hearing them in the middle of the day and the middle of the night.
“It is all about opium” said Hans, “I consume opium.”

Two days later:
“Hello, my name is Alex Kayser, when I come to Cadaqués always stay here.”

“Now I’m here to visit Dalí, and we will be taking some photos. Do you want to model for me? We will be taking photos of Dalí in his Cadillac with a little poodle, and you and me could be in the reflections of the car, you making surprise signals…”

Alex’s proposal sounded like a lot of fun…and making surprise signals in Dalí’s vehicle should not be too difficult. “Like a dance”, he added.

Too much too soon, yet it sounded like a nice thing to do, I came to agree to his proposal.

There were no more free rooms in the house. Alex was already preparing to sleep on the couch in the living room as if he had done this a hundred times.

Alex was this very tall man, with a lot of hair, long and curly, the camera hanging from his neck permanently. Shooting photographs could be his favorite thing in life, photographs he then processed, colored and refined out of his own technique.

Because of my love for Jacques Lacan I was promptly taken by the way Alex would focus on body parts. If something on my own body parts. And we talked about it.

Salvador Dalí, Cadaqués by Alex Kayser.
Cadaqués 70s by Alex Kayser.

He loved it that I would bring up Lacan in theory, “Man does not make love to the whole body of the woman, only parts of the body”…I said, while quoting him, “Phallic jouissance is the obstacle; why man cannot enjoy the body of the woman. Precisely because what he enjoys is the jouissance of the organ.”

And this is how my legs and the edge of my skirt got photographed against a pane of glass filling a window. On the other side of the pane of glass, H. R. Giger’s figure, his face somehow melancholic, drove in the libido.

If I choose to say one thing about Alex Kayser, I would put the emphasis precisely on his chase for the libido, forever present in his photographic tricks, in his choice of the image, on the color over tinted bodies, and so.

We were going to visit Dalí. I decided on a beige Kenzo dress with thin straps and subtle puntilla on the edges, which I would end up wearing in the reflection of Dalí’s Cadillac.

I combed my hair, I painted my eyes and lips. Alex pulled up in his car and we drove to Salvador Dalí’s home. Dalí was standing on a terrace, welcoming us, “Hello!”

Gala was seated with her back turned towards us. I approached her from behind and offered out my hand, which stayed there suspended in the air. Without turning around she said,
“I hate women.”

We went in search of the little poodle and brought it to the Cadillac. With his camera in hand, Alex started shooting Dalí and the dog. Then came my turn to do my dance in the reflections of the car. Alex did his part while telling me to look away.

Hans Giger died in a hospital in Zürich after having suffered injuries in a fall.

Alex Kayser died at his home in NYC after having suffered injuries in a fall.

Josefina Ayerza by Alex Kayser, Cadaqués
Giger by Alex Kayser
All photographs by Alex Kayser
Courtesy of Alex Kayser Foundation