« No Guts No Glory » by Ben Turnbull

« No Guts No Glory » by Ben Turnbull

Ben Turnbull

What inspired you to do “No Guts No Glory”?
To be brutally honest, artists or artworks rarely inspire me but this project is steeped influence from the works of James Montgomery Flagg - from his illustrative propaganda works to the titles of his commissioned war posters. The ominous Uncle Sam pointing was a starting point and then the show began to bend to a different shape around the idea of heroes to fallen men.
The course of 2 years work has thrown up life, death and all that comes with it and that is what most pleases me with this show - balance and life patterns were strewn across the works as it began to form organically.
Propaganda, heroism and sacrifice are your main themes. Do you feel that these topics are still present in the US recruitment of GI’s?
'The raising of that flag means a marine corps for the next 500 years'. It is an understatement that American media has a huge input in the patriotism of its citizens, from output such as 'Patriots Day' to 'Act of Valor', its control must exert some form of persuasion. So back to Iwo Jima - my reincarnation is to represent the reality using symbols synonymous with the U.S. army.... for example the use of the flag from military funerals folded into triangles to represent honour but also the fatality and futility of that day and others to come.
Would you say that the US has a war culture? If so, is the exhibition a kind of critique of american culture or is it more a homage to soldiers?
I'm more interested in the actions of men. Mens' culture. The whys and wherefores. What makes someone with a knowledge of whats to come still go through with their actions and behaviour.
This exhibition has a balance which I can honestly say hasn't been there before. I genuinely believe that you can see both sides of the coin here, on one side the 'gung ho' - 'off we go' approach but on the flip side we have to deal with the counter culture, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder suffering alongside the trauma of homecomings. I've tried to take a very analytical journalistic approach so as to reflect an honest not biased view.
"I genuinely believe that you can see both sides of the coin here, on one side the 'gung ho' - 'off we go' approach but on the flip side we have to deal with the counter culture, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder suffering alongside the trauma of homecomings." [« No Guts No Glory » by Ben Turnbull]
Is the exhibition linked to the US’ current political climate?
Not at all, I believe art can be manipulated to fit the media's agenda at any time which is why I feel more comfortable retreating backwards and dealing with less contemporary issues. Interestingly, subconsciously I live in the day today so I believe that all present work has a stream of current life involved - your own life, actions, what you see on TV, what you read, the films you choose. We are all guided by this and it must therefore have some undercurrent of thought streaming into the work somehow.
How do you feel having a solo show at Saatchi?
I build projects without a home in mind. That means that these projects have a different soul - unlike most commissioned, allocated art. These projects are exhibited to the happy few (Brixton) or to a potentially vast footfall (Saatchi). This is the risk you run being integral to the soul of the show and not letting anything set it to a different beat or path. This time we just happen to be somewhere people will be able to access the work more easily. The show must go on regardless!
"No Guts No Glory" will be running at Saatchi's Gallery's Prints & Originals Gallery from 11 April – 8 May 2017. By Jessica Leclercq

« No Guts No Glory » by Ben Turnbull

Ben Turnbull

What inspired you to do “No Guts No Glory”?
To be brutally honest, artists or artworks rarely inspire me but this project is steeped influence from the works of James Montgomery Flagg - from his illustrative propaganda works to the titles of his commissioned war posters. The ominous Uncle Sam pointing was a starting point and then the show began to bend to a different shape around the idea of heroes to fallen men.
The course of 2 years work has thrown up life, death and all that comes with it and that is what most pleases me with this show - balance and life patterns were strewn across the works as it began to form organically.
Propaganda, heroism and sacrifice are your main themes. Do you feel that these topics are still present in the US recruitment of GI’s?
'The raising of that flag means a marine corps for the next 500 years'. It is an understatement that American media has a huge input in the patriotism of its citizens, from output such as 'Patriots Day' to 'Act of Valor', its control must exert some form of persuasion. So back to Iwo Jima - my reincarnation is to represent the reality using symbols synonymous with the U.S. army.... for example the use of the flag from military funerals folded into triangles to represent honour but also the fatality and futility of that day and others to come.
Would you say that the US has a war culture? If so, is the exhibition a kind of critique of american culture or is it more a homage to soldiers?
I'm more interested in the actions of men. Mens' culture. The whys and wherefores. What makes someone with a knowledge of whats to come still go through with their actions and behaviour.
This exhibition has a balance which I can honestly say hasn't been there before. I genuinely believe that you can see both sides of the coin here, on one side the 'gung ho' - 'off we go' approach but on the flip side we have to deal with the counter culture, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder suffering alongside the trauma of homecomings. I've tried to take a very analytical journalistic approach so as to reflect an honest not biased view.
"I genuinely believe that you can see both sides of the coin here, on one side the 'gung ho' - 'off we go' approach but on the flip side we have to deal with the counter culture, the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder suffering alongside the trauma of homecomings." [« No Guts No Glory » by Ben Turnbull]
Is the exhibition linked to the US’ current political climate?
Not at all, I believe art can be manipulated to fit the media's agenda at any time which is why I feel more comfortable retreating backwards and dealing with less contemporary issues. Interestingly, subconsciously I live in the day today so I believe that all present work has a stream of current life involved - your own life, actions, what you see on TV, what you read, the films you choose. We are all guided by this and it must therefore have some undercurrent of thought streaming into the work somehow.
How do you feel having a solo show at Saatchi?
I build projects without a home in mind. That means that these projects have a different soul - unlike most commissioned, allocated art. These projects are exhibited to the happy few (Brixton) or to a potentially vast footfall (Saatchi). This is the risk you run being integral to the soul of the show and not letting anything set it to a different beat or path. This time we just happen to be somewhere people will be able to access the work more easily. The show must go on regardless!
"No Guts No Glory" will be running at Saatchi's Gallery's Prints & Originals Gallery from 11 April – 8 May 2017. By Jessica Leclercq