An architectural replica of the famous Greek temple Parthenon has been recreated by conceptual artist Marta Minujin, using over 100,000 copies of banned books in its installation. The remarkable design by the South American is currently on display at the Documenta 14 in Kassel, Germany as part of the 100-day art exhibition held in the city and Athens, Greece. Suitably named The Parthenon of Books, an earlier version was first made in 1983 after the end of the ‘Dirty War’ in Minujin’s native Argentina. After a prolonged period of political divide and state terrorism, Raul Alfonsin’s civilian government gained control and a military junta followed. Various books were confiscated and locked away as the country tried to regain its control and authority.
Clearly inspired by these events, Minujin wanted to create his own scaffold replica of the tower and worked with Kassel University students in Germany to find approximately 170 titles that were banned worldwide. Minujin managed to obtain various copies via information from their institutions and donations from the public. Once he obtained enough copies, he wrapped these books in protective plastic coating whilst still displaying their contents for observers to see.
Minujin chose to assemble his The Parthenon of Books on a historical site where Nazis had previously burned Jewish and Marxist books as part of their propaganda for censorship in 1933. The breathtakingly phenomenal installation will remain in Kassel until mid-September when Documenta 14 finishes. If you’re unlikely to ever get a chance to see it yourself, you must check out the hashtag #ParthenonofBooks on Instagram now!