GESAMTKUNSTWERK (Arthur Giardelli- The Sea’s Edge)

I came across Arthur Giardelli’s ‘The Sea’s Edge’ in the national museum of Wales, under the exhibition of ‘”War’s Hell!’ The Battle of Mametz Wood in Art’. I really loved the interesting pattern and textures found in this work.


The sea’s Edge, 1990, Mixed media on board.

“He began to make his highly distinctive, intuitively constructed reliefs in the mid-1950s. He created harmonious structures which utilised and celebrated a wide range of “found” materials – such as slate, hessian and sawn sections of furniture or oars – and reflected the textures, colours and rhythms of nature.”


Function-This piece is a relief made for a gallery exhibition, made to be bought, sold and viewed. This piece is expressive and was made to represent the sea’s edge, with the rocks, the waves crashing against the shore and the coast. I think the piece is made to look aesthetic and pleasing to the viewer.

Materials- This seascape relief was made with found objects, such as shells and metal fragments of watches. It also contains fragments of hessian fabrics which are scattered through the piece. They look like they are all bound together with papers or plaster. Many of Giardelli’s work reflect the sea and seascapes so shells was a necessity in his found objects. He uses fragments of watches in his work because he is fascinated with the concept of time and the notion of eternity. To me these materials are well chosen because of how they relate with the concept of this piece. The shells fit well into the piece, they look as if they have been washed up upon the shore and still hidden within the sand.

Craftsmanship- I think Giardelli is skillful in how he takes found objects and blends them so well into his own art. They look like they truly belong. I love the idea of taking materials and giving them a fresh life in your work. I also love the texture and patterns in his work, the use of texture gives the piece a sense of movement and reflects the movement of the sea.

Expression- I think the piece is very expressive as its the artists representation of the sea and through this he has portrayed his emotions, thoughts and feelings on the subject matter, for example he uses fragments of clocks in his work to reflect the his interests with time and the concept of time. To me it is an accurate representation of the sea and  the shore with the debris of things washed upon shore or dropped on the beach and by recognizing this as a familiar scene it brings back memories and sounds and smells of the sea.

Innovative-  I am interested in how Giardelli uses found materials and how he incorporates them in his work. He almost pastes these materials within his work and they add texture and pattern which almost reflects the movement in the sea. I would love to be able to use found materials and relate the materials back into my concept.


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