Whitechapel Gallery

Henry VIII's Wives

The Street

06 Nov 2008 - 11 Jan 2009


Henry VIII’s Wives is a collaborative group of artists, based in Berlin, Copenhagen, London and Oslo. Since 2005 the group has been focused on their ongoing project Tatlin’s Tower and the World. Russian Constructivist Vladimir Tatlin designed the 400ft tower in 1919 as a symbol of modernity and site of discussion and debate; it remains famously impractical and unbuilt. Henry VIII’s Wives plan to realise the project by building the tower in its full size and intended materials but in different parts and in various locations around the world, so that each realisation will function as a catalyst for different kinds of activity.

Henry VIII’s Wives will use The Shop on Toynbee Street as their HQ in a continuation of this project. Exploring Tatlin’s utopian ideals to bring art and society closer, the shop will be transformed into the foyer of the unbuilt tower, complete with uniformed staff and a specially designed reception. The group will use the industries and services in the area to commission 'Tatlin' versions of local products, such as a batik fabric, a hand bell, and tea set. These products will reinterpret the tower within the area, whilst also investigating the origins of local products found in the market.

For the duration of the project’s development the group plan to base themselves in the Shop which will act as the office, meeting point and research centre for Tatlins Tower and the World in London. A special launch of the foyer will take place on 11th December.

Tags: Vladimir Tatlin, Henry VIII’s Wives