A scantily-clad femme fatale, a pristinely-coiffed hero, and an array of imaginatively-evil baddies. Throw in some guns and gadgets and you have the perfect recipe for a spy thriller.
Kiss Kiss Kill Kill is a multidimensional project dedicated to preserving and sharing the graphic art and forgotten spy films of Cold War Europe. Amassed by creator and curator Richard Rhys Davies, the collection now runs to over 6,000 items, including original artwork, posters, lobby cards and stills.
From the formative 1950s through the golden age of the 1960s and into the nihilistic 1970s, the familiar iconography of the spy thriller is ever present. Yet although often comical and easily parodied, the phenomenon is nevertheless an accessible way to understand a complex political and cultural moment in world history, making Kiss Kiss Kill Kill an important resource.
While a touring exhibition of posters from the archive recently closed in Leeds, the exhibition catalogue contains reproductions of over 100 posters, digitally-restored to their former psychedelic glory. The collection is set to grow even larger, as efforts are made to track down obscure pieces from former Communist countries, South America and South-East Asia. Further exhibitions and publications are planned as new work is acquired, so keep an eye on the website for plenty more to come.
Image (top): Poster for Rapporto Fuller, base Stoccolma (Fuller Report, Base Stockholm), Italian, 1968, dir. Sergio Grieco.