“Parthenon of Books” is built on Nazi book-burning site from 100,000 banned works

Argentinian artist Marta Minujín is behind the "Parthenon of Books", a full-scale replica of the Athenian temple made from 100,000 banned books from all over the world.

The project is located on the Friedrichsplatz in the central German city of Kassel, where 2,000 "un-German" books were burned by the National Socialist party in 1933.

In 1941, the Fridericianum, a library in the city, was engulfed in flames during an Allied bombing attack and a collection of 350,000 books was lost.

Ms Minujín described her architectural artwork as "a symbol of opposition to the banning of writings and the persecution of their authors".

Donated books from authors such as Franz Kafka and Dan Brown are covered in plastic sheets for protection against the elements and are attached to a steel frame. 

The installation is inspired by an earlier "Partenón de Libros" that was built in 1983 in Buenos Aires shortly after the collapse of the junta.

After the 1983 intallation stood for five days, two cranes tipped the building to one side, allowing visitors to remove the books and take them home. 

A public action devoted to returning the once-forbidden books to circulation is also being planned for the new Parthenon at the end of the exhibition’s run.

Minujín worked with the University of Kassel on the project, which is part of documenta 14, an exhibition of contemporary art that takes place every five years in Kassel. Visitors are encouraged to bring a book with them from the list of banned books to donate to the Parthenon.

Image courtesy of documenta 14/Roman März

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