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The Veuve Clicquot Widow Series ‘ROOMS’ by FKA twigs
The Veuve Clicquot Widow Series ‘ROOMS’ by FKA twigs

FKA twigs’ ‘Rooms’ is a tribute to her power as an auteur

Taking over a building for an immersive performance with a cast of 30, twigs’ project for Veuve Clicquot’s Widow Series is proof of her all-encompassing creativity

“I think nowadays we’ve lost our imaginations... We need people like twigs.”

So said dancer Damaris Lewis when she went head to head with the cover star for our 25th anniversary issue, and in light of twigs’ latest (and arguably most ambitious) project to date, the words couldn’t be more true. This week saw the performer take over an entire building for ‘Rooms’, a three-night-only spectacle starring 30 performers. Created for Veuve Clicquot’s second annual Halloween special The Widow Series, ‘Rooms’ was written, directed and curated by twigs, and follows the story of the fictional Diamas (twigs), pursued by her “keeper”, Capricorn. Marking the 150th anniversary of her death, the series is dedicated to the trailblazing Widow Clicquot (veuve meaning widow in French) who famously took over her late husband’s champagne company, transforming it with her creativity. 

Wednesday marked the first night. When you entered the building, you left behind the paparazzi crowding the corner and the traffic streaming up the nearby Shoreditch High Street, and entered a choose your own adventure maze that changed with every doorway. An immersive space inspired by the Zodiac, each room was themed around the characters and traits of the twelve signs. While horoscopes are often seen with a disdain that stems from their frivolous and feminine associations (recalling stereotypes of superstitious aunts or the trite predictions offered on the pages of teen magazines) here they provided a well of inspiration which explored every aspect of humanity with no snobbery about it.

“Where to find twigs was like a rumour or game of hide and seek – whispers that she was in this room or that circulated the house, as strange scenes unfolded in every corner”

The set design was created in collaboration with agency Streeters, a testament to the incredible power of their artists. In a basement space (Leo), Theo Adams Company put on an enthralling performance which saw them both assemble around a lifeless figure on a hospital bed and climb a chainlink fence, lip syncing to diva-worthy ballads. Ascend two floors, and you found a woman in a power suit being both tormented and seduced by a group of dancers in a corporate office where not all was as it seemed – a photocopier jutted from the wall as the grey flooring extended towards the ceiling (Virgo by Emma Roach). Climb the stairs and you came face to face with Taurus, a horned man prowling around his shipping container cage (Andrew Tomlinson). Every corridor, every staircase held surprises – there were taxidermy monkeys (Gemini by Gerard Santos), a passively pastel doctor’s waiting room with a window through to a clinical white cell (Libra by Andrea Stanley), a dive Chinese karaoke bar (Aries by David White), and a neon-lit room entirely covered in blue scales (Pisces by Jean-Michel Bertin).

And then there was twigs, who made her way through the spaces as Diamas, interacting with the performers as she went. Perched on a table in the cell, she admired her own reflection – on the floor of the office, she engaged in a game of power play with the suited woman. Where to find her was like a rumour or game of hide and seek – whispers that she was in this room or that circulated the house, as strange scenes unfolded in every corner. 

Her penultimate performance took place amidst the sculptures which crowded Gary Card’s Scorpio room. Kneeling side by side with artist Olivier de Sagazan, they began to cover their bodies and faces with clay, moulding their heads together in a gruesome vision that recalled Rene Magritte’s “The Lovers”. With no holes to breathe from, they marked their faces and bodies in paint, splattering the audience as they did so.

The moment felt significant, symbolic of the evening as an expression of twigs as auteur – performer and director, both starring in and in control of her own narrative, a solo artist and one who uses collaboration to strengthen the potency of her vision. Watching her is entirely transfixing, even hypnotic, but rather than being voyeuristic, it feels deeply engaging, even emotional. As Damaris Lewis said, the world today is crying out for imagination – twigs’ is enough to sweep you up and transfix you, allowing you to become lost in a universe entirely of her making.