FKA Twigs has curated the second annual Veuve Clicquot Widow Series, an immersive showcase of set designers and artists represented by creative agency Streeters.
Rooms takes over a building in London’s Shoreditch, and features 12 hugely different spaces visually tied together with a zodiac theme. For two performance evenings, taking place on 27 and 28 October, Twigs will be performing in a show that travels through each room and adapts to their designs. A cast of performers will also be resident in each room for the duration of the exhibition.
The series of sets is inspired by Madame Clicquot, who famously took over the champagne brand when she was widowed in October 1805 aged 27, and went on to become known as an industry pioneer and feminist. This show marks 150 years since her death.
Andy Hillman’s piece is a giant black rose surrounded by a circle of pendant lights, forming an open performance space. “The story of Madame Clicquot seemed sad to me,” he explains. “She was this strong woman who’d been through so much. So I had this idea of a beautiful object that looked like it had been through a lot. I like things that are romantic and a bit depressing.”
David White’s room takes the form of a fake bar/restaurant with seedy undertones. The attention to detail is uncannily realistic, from the faux marble and cracked mirror walls to the fag ends and photos left around. Upstairs, Andrea Stanley has decorated three linked rooms in hugely contrasting colours and patterns, with viewing windows into each. A contortionist will be stationed in one of these rooms later on, we’re told.
Theo Adams has created an eerie set, with a sombre surgical bed at the centre, surrounded by a chicken wire cage. This transforms during the performance, as does much of Theo’s work, which often incorporates transitions, surprises and a dark side.
Emma Roach was inspired by internet irregularities for her set, which seems banal but on closer inspection is full of abnormalities. “I love it when Google maps 3D images get distorted, so my room uses glitches in that way. A lot of people walk in and think it’s an office until they start noticing peculiarities.”
Gary Card has designed in a level of unfinishedness into his design, a collection of white figures that he hopes will develop visually the more mess is made in the space over the duration of the show. Twigs performs for the longest time in this room, and will cover herself in clay as part of the show.
At the top of the building, a shipping container designed by Andrew Tomlinson cuts through the external wall from inside to out on a terrace. Inside is a white panelled room, which appears to have once been pristine in its finish, but is now covered in nightmarish claw scratches.
“When I found out my character was Taurus, and I read the description of him being moody and brooding, I immediately thought that I wanted him to rip my set apart,” says Andrew, who comes from a background in film. “My carpenters built this, but when it came to the distressing, I had to have total control. All of this is me just hacking stuff up. When you see the performer in here, he’s brilliant, and it’s completely believable that all this was created by him.”
Other artists involved include Gerard Santos, Alexander Bock, Andrea Cellerino, Miguel Bento and Jean-Michel Certin.
Performances will take place twice nightly on Thursday 27 October and Friday 28 October. Tickets are available here