Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Art Recipe: The Weisse Cube by Addi & Werner Weisse

This is the recipe as written down by Arnold Tuppley for the Weisse twins' now infamous work: The Weisse Cube.

You can read the story behind this work here.


This is an event that requires the cooperation of the public to make it work. The white cube set down into the floor of the space is the focus for the event, where an artist is interred and supplied with materials and equipment by the public. The artist’s job is then to produce work with those materials. The quality of the work produced should challenge the supremacy of the event itself, which must last exactly eighteen days. After that, an exhibition is held in the cube itself to display the works the artist has created for the public to judge for themselves which side has won.


·         1 warehouse or similar space, at least 900 sq ft, with a ceiling of at least 5m
·         scaffolding
·         plywood or similar boarding materials
·         20 litres white emulsion paint for the cube, the platform can be painted or not as you wish
·         1 artist
·         1 ladder
·         1 hidden door in the side of the cube
·         1 emergency exit
·         1 noose
·         1 security guard
·         publicity


Find a suitable venue and measure your artist’s height.

A large space is required for this piece, preferably a warehouse or some other such structure with a high ceiling of five or more metres. You need to ensure that there is enough room to build within the space a raised platform that is twice the artist’s height, or 3.44m (twice Werner’s height and the height of the original cube), whichever is the greater.

Build the false floor with the cube as a hole in its centre going down to the real floor below.

Within the space erect the floor with scaffolding and plywood to the height calculated above. Stairs should take the visitor straight up to this level from the entrance to the space so that they are unaware of the real floor below them until they come to the central hole, the reason for their visit, which should be located as near as possible to the very centre of the room. At this centre, the hole goes down to the floor below, as wide and long as it is deep, a cube, whose internal walls should be painted white. There should be no discernable point of entry or exit from the cube, but there must be a hidden door, one that the artist is aware of but which cannot be seen by the public, that leads to an escape route from the building in case of an emergency, should one arise, and an optional toilet.

Along the top edge of the cube the minimum of protective cordons, fences, or warnings, should be put up to allow for local health and safety laws, the ideal being nothing at all. Any cordon or barrier should not be visible from within the cube at the natural eye level of the participating artist so that their view is solely the white walls of the cube and then the ceiling, with no interference. At the same time the visitor to the piece should be able to look down and observe the artist, and be able to throw down to them equipment or materials.

The raised floor can be painted any colour you like, or not at all.

Employ a security guard for the duration of the event.

A security guard must be employed to watch over the artist, and to make sure no untoward behaviour is experienced by the artist from members of the public. If necessary they can help the public to throw down the things they have brought, or to stop them throwing things at the artist directly. They must also keep note of the artist’s behaviour to ensure they do not spend their time hiding under the false floor or overusing the facilities provided, or in any other way trying to shirk their responsibility as an artist, otherwise the piece will be rendered null and void. In this way, the security guard acts as watchman and invigilator for the piece.

Publicise the event.

Care must be taken to ensure sufficient publicity has been arranged to avoid the prospect of the artist sitting in the cube with absolutely nothing to do. It is the responsibility of the organisers to ensure the public are aware of the event and of the role they have to play to make it work.­­­­­­­­­­­

Hang a noose from the scaffolding under the platform near the cube on the morning of the first day.

It has become a rather macabre tradition to hang a noose from the scaffolding under the false floor in memory of Addi Weisse, the author of the piece, during a solemn ceremony that remembers both brothers. This should be carried out on the first morning of the event, with all those involved in its re-creation descending down into the cube, lighting two candles in remembrance, and then entering the space beneath the raised floor through the hidden door where a noose is hung from the scaffolding. When this ceremony is complete, everyone returns to the cube, and each exits, ascending the ladder, leaving the artist on their own. The ladder is withdrawn, and the artist blows out the candles signifying the start of the event.

Use a ladder to help the Artist gain access down into the cube every morning, and to ascend every evening, for a continuous period of eighteen days.

The artist should be interned at 10am on every morning, having the ladder withdrawn, and exiting at least 8 hours later. This pattern is repeated every day for eighteen consecutive days. They enter with nothing except for the clothes they stand up in, and an optional two litre bottle of drinking water.

Once the event has started the public are allowed to come in and throw down into the cube tools, materials, equipment, anything they think appropriate with which the artist can then make art. The artist’s task is then to produce art whose veracity and quality must surpass the spectacle of the event.

After the eighteenth day, build a staircase down from the edge of the cube to its floor, and prepare it for exhibition.

The conclusion to the event is reached after the eighteenth day has finished. The following day all debris must be removed form the cube, and a staircase built down to its floor for the public to gain access easily. An exhibition should then be set up in the cube of the work that the artist has produced during their time in the cube, a private view held, and then the exhibition opened to the public to visit for a period of one week.

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