25 August 2016 | 26 °C

In Pictures: Richard Sharples' Mechanical Aquarium

In Pictures: Richard Sharples' Mechanical Aquarium
The old fish and coal offices on Regent's Canal. Haven for graffiti taggers and robotic fish.
The old fish and coal offices on Regent's Canal. Haven for graffiti taggers and robotic fish.
A facsimile seahorse looks on at a plump water-wheel-powered fish.
A facsimile seahorse looks on at a plump water-wheel-powered fish.
Hang on. Weren't you one of the baddies in Bubble Bobble?
Hang on. Weren't you one of the baddies in Bubble Bobble?
The largest fish of all, moves with surprising grace.
The largest fish of all, moves with surprising grace.
The fish cast eerie shadows on the crumbling walls.
The fish cast eerie shadows on the crumbling walls.
Well-worn steps lead to the upper level of the derelict building.
Well-worn steps lead to the upper level of the derelict building.
In inanimate 'rotting' fish, placed in a tank, looks strikingly real. In fact, it's made from wire and newspaper.
In inanimate 'rotting' fish, placed in a tank, looks strikingly real. In fact, it's made from wire and newspaper.

In some sense, this post is redundant. The Mechanical Aquarium closed yesterday and sold out long ago. But such was the beauty of this kinetic installation that we feel duty bound to share the wonder, even if you can't now experience it first hand.

Local artist Richard Sharples crafted a walk-through aquarium of robotic creatures inside the long-abandoned fish and coal offices on Regent's Canal. His ichthyological creations are cobbled together from mattress wire, bubble wrap, discarded plastic cups and other detritus to form surprisingly beautiful forms. The delicate piscine automata glow with the light of anglerfish in the decrepit darkness of the warehouse. Truly an enchantment under the sea. A high bar has been set for the first intake of art students at neighbouring Central St Martin's, due to open next year.

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Last Updated 01 June 2016