American History X is Ben Turnbull’s latest solo exhibition to be shown in four separate volumes, each stage telling a different story about America’s past. Part One – The Death Of America is currently on show at Brixton East and features comic collage and children’s toys in a unique way of telling America’s story.
Following on from Turnbull’s 911 Firefighters series (2011) and his exploration of the dark truths surrounding the Columbine and Virginia Tech massacres (2009), Americana serves again as his muse and platform for more darkly satirical comments on the country’s social and political ideologies.
Battersea-based, Turnbull bypassed the traditional art school training and instead learnt his skills from working alongside practicing artisans and craftsmen in a workshop environment. Starting in the studios of Conran and Tom Dixon resulted in working with clients such as David Collins on projects including Claridges, J Sheekey’s and Quo Vadis.
Experience with other mediums then came with a move to the studios of Shepperton and Elstree working on numerous film productions including Danny Boyle’s, 28 Days / Weeks films, the BBC’s Bleak House and Joe Wright’s Pride and Prejudice.
Turnbull caused widespread controversy with his 2009 piece, Kids Have Everything These Days, for which he created a vending machine stocked with handguns highlighting the availability of weapons to adolescents. The piece sparked heated debate on BBC Radio 4’s The Today Programme and later the story was picked-up by Volta NY Art Fair who showed Turnbull’s work in 2010.
The Death of America is showing at Brixton East, 100 Barrington Road until Friday 18 April, open 11am-6pm . Entry is free.