Art & Design

Parthenon duplicate out of 100.000 banned books by Marta Minujín

As part of the documenta 14 exhibition that is taking place in Athens, Greece and Kassel, Germany this year, the Argentinian, multidisciplinary artist Marta Minujín takes a stance on censorship. She created a full-scale replica of Acropolis’ Parthenon out of 100.000 books that have been banned by totalitarian regimes at some point in history. The structure stands on Friedrichsplatz, the park where thousands of books were burned in 1933 by the Nazis.

Re-appropriating the ancient Greek monument as an idealistic symbol, Minujín created this grand installation out of metal rods and covered the collums with 100.000 copies of books, donated by the public at the request of the artist. A list of 70.000 titles of manuscripts that were formerly or still are on a black list, was given out so people would know what books to bring and that way they would be involved in the artistic creation. The piece criticises brilliantly the oppression of free speech and culture and knowledge juxtaposing forbidden books against one of the greatest symbols of democracy.

Parthenon Books
image © rosa maria ruehling
image © roman maerz

Documenta 14 commissioned Minujín to recreate this piece which was originally displayed on a public square in the southern part of Buenos Aires in 1983 under the title El Partenón de libros (The Parthenon of Books).

Parthenon Books
El Partenón de libros, Buenos Aires, 1983. image © Marta Minujín archive


by Thanos Arabatzis