San Francisco Airport, International Gateroom - San Francisco CA, 1999


One inch porcelain tile
20' x 32'

in collaboration with Larry Sultan

This project for the San Francisco Airport is a gateroom wall measuring 20 x 32 feet. The mosaic tile mural uses 99 colors of unglazed one-inch porcelain tile. There are 92,000 pieces of tile that comprise the mural.

The airport is a gateway both literally and symbolically. It is a point of arrival and departure from our past, our home, our jobs, and a place of transition to new connections and opportunities. With international travel the airport has become the mythical point of entry and return.

The international terminal, expecially, is a public space where people of very different cultural and class backgrounds crowd together in the ritual of waiting; waiting for lovers, family and friends, anticipating that first moment of recognition, of welcome and re-connection into their world.

We photographed these moments hoping to capture and portray the familiar, mundane yet deeply symbolic drama of waiting. We would like the audience for our piece to see themselves mirrored in a way so they may consider their situation from a wider frame of reference.