This room brings together selected images from two series of works, Airports 1987–2006 and Flowers, Mushrooms 1997/8. It is an intriguing contradiction that in their search for beauty Fischli / Weiss have explored some of the most clichéd and familiar themes in art history – sunsets, dramatic landscapes, flora and fauna – and some of the most humdrum and unexpected – such as airports, suburban housing estates and motorways. In Fischli / Weiss’s universe, both types of subject matter merit equal scrutiny.
Their images of nondescript airports focus on the banal side of air travel; the fuel vehicles, the baggage trucks, the daily routine of the airport worker. These carefully composed images are strangely placid and restful, without any of the noise and anxiety commonly associated with airports.
The alluring flower and fungi images are double-exposures, the result of a technique which involves exposing film twice within the camera. The artists spent many afternoons taking photographs in gardens and vegetable patches, deciding which subjects to photograph one on top of another, but never exactly sure of the outcome. The resulting pictures of over-laid petals, berries, weeds and mushrooms have an unreal quality – colours are intensified, forms are magnified, landscapes are merged with close-up details of plants.