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TRANSFORMED review by James Dignan Printed in the ODT 19/1/12

The title of Benjamin King’s exhibition at A Gallery carries multiple layers of meaning. On the purely prosaic level, “Transformed” refers to the recycled material used by the artist for his art. The title also refers more spiritually to the biblical themes touched on in the exhibition, and the eternal conflict between the soul and the flesh. Transformation is also key to the artist’s inspiration – a specific biblical passage in which Jacob wrestles with a mysterious figure, after which his name was changed to Israel. On a more playful level, the title has further meaning – the science-fictional figures which the artist has created are strongly reminiscent of the “Transformer” toys which convert from one form to another. In King’s works, two giant figures stand opposed ready to lock together in battle. The wooden figures are luridly coloured steampunk robots whose forms were inspired by an old tabletop wrestling game, and they have been well crafted with humour and attention to detail. A third sculpture hangs on a wall nearby. Created from card coated in sand, it shows a meticulous aerial fly-by of Jerusalem, yet in the company of the two robots it appears almost as a science-fictional space battle-cruiser. Again, the attention to detail makes this a very attractive work.

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