‘Top Secret: Cinema and Espionage,’ on display at CaixaForum 

New exhibition features over 270 items, from spy gadgets to film props and posters

'Probably Chelsea' at the exhibition 'Top secret. Cinema and espionage' at Caixaforum Barcelona
'Probably Chelsea' at the exhibition 'Top secret. Cinema and espionage' at Caixaforum Barcelona / Pere Francesch
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Catalan News | @catalannews | Barcelona

November 26, 2023 09:54 AM

November 27, 2023 04:07 PM

Spies have fascinated movie audiences for decades, and a new exhibition in Barcelona looks at the history of the relationship between espionage and one of our favorite forms of entertainment.  

'Top Secret: Cinema and Espionage' recently opened its doors to the public at the CaixaForum in Barcelona. The exhibition, in collaboration with the Cinémathèque Française, features 270 different items, from movie posters and artwork to gadgets and real spyware tools used by intelligence agencies in the past.   


The exhibition, which pays tribute to spies, takes a chronological and thematic tour with protagonists such as Mata Hari, Hedy Lamarr, Carrie Mathison, James Bond and Edward Snowden.  

In addition to movie props and real-life spy gadgets, the exhibition also explores the relationship between the East and West during the Cold War in the mid-20th century, a period of history that saw a lot of international undercover work, which was also reflected in entertaiment.   

"Because there is the thrill of the secret. Because a spy is hiding, because a spy changes his identity. Also, because a spy is doing something in order to help others. It is a job that is supposed to be dedicated to the good of your country," says exhibition curator Alexandra Midal.  

The exhibition includes a total of 16 works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Ceryth Wyn Evans, Julien Prévieux, Jean-Luc Blanco, among others, from the contemporary art collection of the "la Caixa" Foundation. 

Role and depiction of women in espionage 

The exhibition explores the role of the female spy beyond stereotypes.  

The curator denies that James Bond is the main protagonist of the exhibition, but that he is the most famous character.  

Alexandra Midal prefers to highlight female spies: "There are many female spies who have been erased from history, and we want to pay tribute to them in the exhibition".  

One of them is the actress Hedy Lamarr, who invented a secret transmitter coding system that is considered the forerunner of GPS and Wi-Fi. 

‘Top Secret, Cinema and Espionage’ is open now in Barcelona’s CaixaForum until March 17 next year