In Kassel, Germany, at the very site where Nazis once burned over 2,000 books by Jewish and Marxist writers, one artist has built a colossal tribute to free speech. The “Parthenon of Books” is a giant temporary replica of the famous Greek temple in Athens. The installation is covered by more than 100,000 books that have been banned at various stages throughout history. Created by Argentine artist Marta Minujín, the exhibit is meant to spark debate over censorship in literature. Once the exhibition is over, these books will be handed out to allow the banned to enter literary circulation once more.
Great Big Story visits Germany’s ‘Parthenon’ of Banned Books, a highlight of the documenta 14 art exhibition. The installation on Friedrichsplatz in Kassel—one of 34 locations throughout Germany where 1933’s infamous Aktion wider den undeutschen Geist or ‘Campaign against the Un-German Spirit’ took place—is a re-realization of Minujín’s El Partenón de libros 1983, a Buenos Aires-based temporary installation of 20,000 books that had been banned during the Argentinian military dictatorship.
From the Tate on the original installation: “A monument to the restoration of democracy in her native country, Minujín’s public project was inaugurated on 19 December 1983, only one week after the restitution of democracy.”
On Sunday, September 10, 2017, Minujín began redistributing the books from the Kassel installation, a completion of the project that will continue from September 11th to the 17th. See a bit of how it was assembled in this AFP clip, and enjoy the wordless video tour from VernissageTV below:Next: The Evolution of the Book and How to Understand Power.
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