Argentinian artist Marta Minujín magnificently created an instalment named The Parthenon of Books in Kassel, Germany as part of the Documenta 14 art festival.
Minujín created the architectural replica of the Parthenon from 100,000 banned books, asking the public to contribute when they visit the exhibition. Working with students from Kassel University, the artist identified 170 books from around the world that were at one point banned or remain banned in some countries.
By placing censored material on a replica of the Parthenon—a structure symbolizing democracy— Minujín asks us to consider the role of politics in attempting to influence thought. Building on this, the instalment sits on a space where 2,000 books were burned by the Nazis.
The replica serves as a bleak reminder that the written word has steadily been used in actions of censorship throughout history. However, this is not her first iteration of the Parthenon of Books, with the first piece erecting 25,000 books banned by Argentina’s military junta in a square in Buenos Aires.
Meanwhile, the new replica has been under construction since 2016, with the official opening in 2017. The work will now be officially displayed in September.
Curator Pierre Bal-Blanc detailed, ‘In her mass-participation projects, Minujín rediscovers the initial value of a collective treasure; she melts shared capital back down into cultural currency without remainder.
‘She lays down the verticality of public edifices that embody confiscated cultural knowledge and a hidebound heritage. She dilapidates the fortune these myths represent. By literally tilting these symbols, Minujín not only gives new meaning to these monuments, she offers them a new sensuality.’, he added.