Conceptual Artist Installs German Replica of Parthenon Wrapped in Banned Books

Germany gets itself a quite unusual replica of the Greek Parthenon, one that is enveloped in books. The scaffold installation is the work of Argentine conceptual artist Marta Minujín. It is called “The Parthenon of Books” and it has 100,000 copies of banned books wrapped to its columns, architrave, and pediment. The installation will be on show for 100 days in the city of Kassel as part of the art exhibition Documenta 14.

Photograph: alexgorlin

With the help of students from Kassel University, Minujín could list a total of 170 titles which were banned throughout history by different institutions from all over the world. Then, she gained her 100,000 copies of these books through public donations. The books are wrapped in transparent plastic to protect yet clearly reveal the titles.

Photograph: saabrobz

Kassel’s Parthenon of Books is not the first. In 1983, Minujín installed her first Book-clad replica. It stood at the “9th of July” Avenue in her native city Buenos Aires as a monument for the restoration of Democracy in Argentine. For that structure, she chose books that were banned by Argentine military dictatorships.

Photograph: lctanner

The location of her latest Parthenon of Books carries significance as much as her first one. Kassel’s replica stands on a site where Nazis once held a bonfire for books. In 1933, they started a campaign in which they gathered books written by Marxists, pacifist, constructive art advocates, and Jews, then they held bonfires at several locations to “celebrate” the burning. The new replica stands now on one of those sites in defiance of that dark past.

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