Photographer Tyler Shields’ exhibition at Imitate Modern is set to be one of the most provocative and awe-inspiring shows of this decade. Opening the doors on a very private part of all our lives, Tyler Shields is aiming to make sexuality a more open and public theme. With magazines such as GQ that anticipated the launch of this tantalising show, I will take you around a tour that is assez provocateur .
For those who haven’t heard the name, it’s likely you’ll have seen some of his work. He is most renowned for snapping some of the hottest Hollywood celebrities, including some rather raunchy photographs of Lindsay Lohan during her most controversial time. His biggest exhibition to date, named ‘Life Is Not a Fairytale’, saw Tyler collect blood from 20 celebrities in order to create some weird and wonderful pictures. His unique, and sometimes disturbing, exhibitions can be found in galleries around the world. Interviewers and art experts have tried dissecting his hauntingly creative mind, only to discover that Shields is nothing more than a genius.
In what is thought to by Shield’s most provocative shows so far (a tall order, indeed), Provocateur aims to get an insight into those brief moments of sexuality; usually kept behind closed doors. The collection features some of the most glamorous up and coming models, such as Ana Mulvoy-Ten, Maddie Hasson and Rumer Willis, all in rather seductive poses. Red mouths, mesh underwear, hair rollers and cigarette smoke all combine perfectly together, to create a heady mix of grittiness and Hollywood glam. Tyler Shields has set out to capture some of the most intimate moments that would usually be over within seconds. He says, “Sexuality is a very private thing, Provocateur will make it public.” A quick glance through the 30+ images within the collection tells us that he is very right about that. These private scenes become private no more, thanks to the talented man behind his lens.
Dreaming of Paris
One of the most eye-catching and favourite pieces in the collection for me has to be ‘Dreaming of Paris’. Despite being hidden behind an eye-mask, emblazoned with the words ‘Dreaming of Paris’, the model still manages to seduce the viewer. With ruby red lips, barely keeping hold of the ashing cigarette, the image hints at post-coital bliss; without giving too much away. In fact, the model looks so relaxed that she’s let ash fall onto her naked chest. Shields certainly knows how to allude to certain intimate times, without having to make the scene glaringly obvious. He also doesn’t need to make things lewd, in order for them to be overly sexual. The crisp white sheets and slicked back hair bring that aforementioned Hollywood glamour, to an outstandingly provocative photograph.
Taking a slightly different turn is another one of my favourites in the Provocateur collection. ‘The Swans’ focuses on two perfectly made up ballerinas, both with one leg held high. As if to shatter our illusions about these prim and proper creatures, one is holding a cigarette in the other’s mouth. These two girls don’t even need to make eye contact to show the fizzing chemistry in the room, all set off perfectly in black and white. Again, Shields uses his subtlety to bring sexuality out of the shadows and into the forefront of our minds. There are several other ‘Swan’ images within the collection, each with their own heady mix of grittiness and Hollywood chic.
If you only go to see one photography collection this year, then this has to be the one! A big thanks to Jacqui Brantjes (founder of Imitate Modern) and Tyler Shields (man of the hour) for the tour!
The exhibition will be running until the 1st of November at Imitate Modern, near Regent’s Park. The gallery is open from 10am until 6pm, Monday to Friday, and 10am until 5pm on Saturdays
for more information visit www.imitatemodern.com