‘Victory Day’ – James Hill

7th May – 9 June, Pushkin House

In July 2015, A.Bliss were asked to produce 15 hand stained and waxed tulip frames for James Hill’s new exhibition at Pushkin House, as featured in the London Evening Standard. James Hill photographed roughly 500 Russian veterans over many years, setting up a makeshift studio to capture the ‘Victory Day’ proceedings which marks the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union.

The project began after spending time in Gorky Square where Russians celebrate victory of the Nazis. During these celebrations he noticed that although Russia had the largest female contingent during wartime that they weren’t celebrated in the same way. He writes  “as these nurses, radio operators, Ack-Ack gunners and even one sniper stood in my field studio I felt a pang of remorse, seeing the medal bedecked sailors and soldiers walking past”. The work doesn’t seek to glorify these veterans but show them as on a personal level, as people, friends, sons, fathers, daughters and mothers.

The use of traditional techniques was employed throughout the project so we felt the framing and mounting should reflect this. Using the long established hot mounting process on the fibre based prints and fitting them into dark, hand stained tulip frames with window mounts. The dark quality of the frames allow the tones in the print to stand out whilst the window mount sets work in its historic content. The craft and care enables the pieces to be seen in their full beauty and respectfully compliments the individual stories of the subjects.

The work aims to capture what will soon be resigned to history, as we near the 70th anniversary of the Second World War. Every year, fewer veterans return to the victory parade.

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