Argentine artist Marta Minujín has created a life-sized replica of the Parthenon using 100,000 banned books from around the world. The massive book art installation is a replica of the famous Greek temple where democracy was born. However, the location of the ambitious project is more than just a symbolic statement – its located on Friedrichsplatz in Kassel, Germany where over 2,000 books were burned in one day by Nazis in 1933.
During the “Aktion wider den undeutschen Geist” (Campaign against the Un-German Spirit), which took place on May 19, 1933, some 2,000 books were burned in the Friedrichsplatz. Minujín says that her installation, which is part of a 100-day art event called Documenta 14, was inspired by the “aesthetic and political ideals of the first democracy” and meant to be a modern-day tribute to democracy. According to the artist, creating the building out of banned books is a symbol of resistance to the ongoing persecution of freedom of speech.
The artist worked with students from Kassel University to identify almost 200 book titles that have been banned at some point in history. She then put out a call for people around the world to donate their own copies of the books to be used in the art project. She received hundreds of thousands of books that were wrapped in plastic to protect them from the elements while allowing them to be easily identified.