Check-in to a world of dullness and banality
800 Views of Airports, the legendary photo series by the Swiss duo Peter Fischli and David Weiss, contains pictures taken between 1987 and 2011. It has now been published in one volume for the first time.
The US filmmaker John Waters had this to say about it: “Every time I look out of an airplane window in boredom, frustration and exhaustion, I see a mediocre still life, even duller, more stupid and less remarkable than Fischli/Weiss’s. And I’m convinced that I’ve glimpsed a new kind of 1990s beauty, over and above the banality of Pop or the exasperation of Minimalism into a shockingly tedious, fair to middling, nothing-to-write-home-about, new kind of masterpiece.
“Foreign skylines, lush greenery, even a romantic sunset are ruined by these crazed photographers who go about their tasks as if hired by a postcard company that they hate with psychotic, understated fury. Looking at their work has the appeal of being trapped in the rear of the tourist section of a stalled jet in summertime as the stewardess announces in three languages that she apologises for the air conditioner’s malfunction but not to worry, ‘we are number eighteen in the line for take-off’.
“An empty passenger jet undramatically parked in an unlit hangar is just as dull as it sounds. And a perfectly centred medium shot of a windowless Lufthansa cargo plane may force us to realise we’re not much better off here than the packages inside (there’s nothing to look at even if they could see) but it still takes a specially desensitised eye to savour this run-of-the-mill vision.”