Portfolio: Tyler Shields


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The Independent Culture

He has spattered a lingerie-clad Lindsay Lohan's blood across a wall, given Glee's Heather Morris a black eye and had his girlfriend Francesca Eastwood (daughter of Clint) rip asunder a Birkin bag with a chainsaw, but the firebrand American photographer Tyler Shields' latest series appears to eschew the sex and violence that has epitomised his oeuvre to focus instead on the gentler theme of colour.

Yet even when describing his thinking behind these scenes of chromatic carousing, Shields uses terms that tend towards the brutal: "I wanted to explore the idea of colours exploding, to create a colour war," he says.

To do so, he engaged a group of actor friends, and encouraged them to go wild with a ceremonial powder more often found in Indian religious rituals. "I'd set up a scene and they'd scoop up fistfuls of the powder and go crazy throwing it at one another; even the camera was annihilated, covered in this crazy stuff."

The resulting scenes are alternately of utter chaos and emotive stillness – with one even redolent of a Jackson Pollock canvas. Albeit, typically of such an arch provocateur, with a pair of naked, heeled legs strewn across it…

'Chromatic' is at the Imitate Modern Gallery, London W1 (imitatemodern.com), from  8 February