From Russia with Love


The secret service comes by post, the spy is on the stamp.
In 1990, during the final throes of the Soviet Union an edition of stamps was issued in honor of five
KGB agents. Their names, birth and death dates were printed beneath each portrait. It would seem
strange: to make public these identities that should remain hidden and these names no one should know.
Albeit only the truly well-informed would be able assign the names to the spies in question.
Fabian Reimann has taken on this subject, reworking the images and transferring them from tiny stamps
to larger than life canvasses. Reimann uses the spies’ code names as titles of the works. Some of whom
are in fact old acquaintances, as the artist has encountered them before in earlier work and his research
on nuclear spies and the intricacies of art and espionage.
The second series of images features even more KGB heroes. What may have already seemed
reactionary in 1990, is downright strange in the 1998 stamp edition. Russian stamps that honor heroes of
the Soviet Union? Was this a time of longing for a big, united country, for a global power? Is this
nostalgia even current today?
The title of the exhibition “From Russia with Love” is borrowed from the 1963 James Bond film. This
fictitious spy figure, who identifies with nothing else but being a spy serves as the perfect representative
for the Cold War era.
In his work Fabian Reimann examines history and its imagery. For the artist all stories that are read into
images, whether they are fictional or historical, or stem from military imagery intelligence, stenography
or art history, become intertwined in the pool of our cultural memory. A broad spectrum of information,
of things both visible and hidden, names, faces and codes is covered in the work.