Tutsy Navarathna is perhaps best known for his brilliant and evocative videos. However, he is also an accomplished photographer, demonstrating the same flair and eye for scenes and story-telling in his images that is so clearly evident in his machinima.
His latest exhibition of photography recently opened at the Nitroglobus Gallery, operated and curated by the partnership of Nitro Fireguard and Dido Haas. And it is a must-see.
Série Noire is an homage (I’m using the French pronunciation intentionally), to the publishing imprint of the same name, founded in 1945 by French screenwriter and actor Marcel Duhamel. It’s a title which became – and still is – synonymous with detective fiction; so much so, that in 1946 it led to the coining of the term film noir to describe those stylish Hollywood detective dramas of the 1940s / 1950s.
The exhibition offers a series of large format images featuring scenes which might easily have been drawn from any of the stories to be found in Serie Noir during its 70-year history. Thus it is that we have images alive with sensual femme fatales and fedora-hatted detectives mixed with those hinting at outright sexuality and bordered by the suggestion of the harder, more edged violence we expect from our detective thrillers today. although that said, I have to admit to liking the picture that is so suggestive of a more genteel era of detective fiction, complete with a bowler-hatted, monocled detective, a walking cane held in one hand and a faint air of the Hercule Poirots about him.
Also forming a part of the exhibition is a series of sculptures by Nitro Fireguard. These present further scenes so often found in crime and detective fiction, and each is framed under the light of a street lamp. Most are static, but one features an animated couple caught in the moment of a shooting. But is in premeditated murder or a case of crime passionnel?
I have long been a fan of Tutsy’s video work, and each time I see his photography, I become more enamoured of it as well; Série Noire further cements that feeling, and I recommend it to anyone with a love of detective fiction and films. When visiting, do take the opportunity to explore the other gallery areas, which feature more works by Dido and Nitro.
- Série Noire, Nitroglobus Gallery (Rated: Adult)