Battle of SAint-Mihiel [1918] by David DaSilva

Battle of SAint-Mihiel [1918] by David DaSilva


Hydrocal, fiberglass, graphite , steel

About the Work from the Artist

Through the recreation of a historical aerial photograph of a World War I battlefield, this piece captures the inordinate degree of energy — an estimated 1.5 billion artillery shells were fired during the war — that was exerted across the Western Front.


The raw, brutal force that was transferred into the earth is suspended in stasis. The composition of this French battlefield takes on an almost natural, topographic or geological quality in its appearance. A profound tension arises between the two visible yet disparate forces of change; the artificial forces of mankind's artillery almost instantaneously begin to mimic the natural forces that shape landscapes—four years of warfare coming to mimic millions of years of natural arbitrarity.

I made this body of work during the centennial anniversary of World War Ie with the pertinence of this war paramount in my thinking. WWI was a watershed moment that ushered in a new age of warfare and capitalism which remains to this day intimately entangled in every facet of our society.


When contemplating the scale and intensity of warfare on The Western Front, the existential element of military technology is brought again to the fore. It is when considering these moments that we may also come to consider the progress of human civilization itself as nonlinear, fragile, and inscribed with great falls.

"Battle of Saint-Mihiel [1918]" is made by digitally rendering a photograph, then casting the rendering in a thin sheet of Hydrocal.

This piece may be purchased under the District Clay Gallery Collector’s Program.

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David DaSilva just completed his Bachelor Degree in Visual Arts from Bennington College in Vermont.  

He was a studio tech at Bennington and has extensive experience working with and maintaining ceramic studios and equipment.  He was a studio apprentice to Roberto Lugo and also interned at the Clay Studio in Philadelphia.

He is currently a resident artist at the District Clay Center.