The series of airports produced between 1988 and 1999 includes more than eight hundred photographs. The subject had rarely entered the field of art prior to this and it went on to broaden as well as drastically change the repertoire of photography. The gaze which Fischli and Weiss brought to bear on airports elevated these mass transit spaces to the rank of photographic objects, while emphasising their contemporary icon status. Frequently the victims of a lack of aestheticism, airports have since become symbols of a mobile society and of a life in transit.
The choice of this motif falls within the artists’ search for the unspectacular which takes shape during wanderings undertaken outside their studio. From this perspective, painter Jean-Frédéric Schnyder constitutes a major figure in the work of Fischli and Weiss. Through his philosophy, according to which everything is worth painting, illustrated by his small-scale paintings which depict landscapes of roads as well as of waiting rooms, Schnyder’s oeuvre has inspired the two artists’ sense of wonder for the non-place and these motifs that easily fill our more or less banal everyday lives.