Activity The coal



Edward Hillel is a photographer and multidisciplinary artist. He engages history, memory, place and community to produce works that are at once personal and reflect upon society and the human condition. From black and white photographic portraits and narrative videos to images and installations employing photographs, videos and film, archives and found materials, projected sounds and reflective surfaces, his works and site-specific projects are carried out within a framework of social engagement and collaboration.


The coal hill / Le terril

Installation, 1999

Blurring fiction and reality, the installation The Coal Hill offers many signs to be unveiled, ignored or pondered by the public. The simple materials, representing grass, coal, rope or old pans, are in reality synthetic false doubles, manufactured from plastic or other products derived from petroleum. Coal, the vital force and economic engine powering the factories of 18th- and 19th-century industrial cities, saw its reign end in Europe and North America during the 1970s.

The Coal Hill is a work that denounces the economic, political and social power of multinational corporations, whose priority is to increase their profits by importing products from Asia to the detriment of the local population, where coal mines are abandoned and their unions dismantled. Using humour, the text of the large panel At the Coal Merchant’s gives the impression that coal and oil have been exploited in a global market game often detrimental to local communities.

The Coal Hill is part of a series of sites designed to interact with history, memory and the human condition. Originally commissioned as part of an artist residency at Galerie L’H du Siège in Valenciennes, France, it was then recreated at the National Gallery in Prague.

Curator : Joyce Yahouda


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