An Argentine artist has built a monumental structure in Germany in the form of the Parthenon as a symbol of resistance against book-banning as a form of political censorship.
The replica was unveiled last month as part of the annual Documenta 14 art festival. The exhibit will be on public display until September in Kassel, Germany, where the festival was founded in 1955 “in direct response to the ‘degenerate art’ politics of the Third Reich.”
For the first time this year, the festival was co-hosted in Athens, Greece, where exhibits were displayed from April 8-July 16.
Artist Marta Minujín, 74, decided to erect a life-size replica of the Parthenon in Kassel to commemorate the burning of roughly 2,000 books there by Nazis on May 19, 1933.
She and other organizers created a shortlist of more than 170 books that either have been or still are banned in countries around the world and received 100,000 donated books.
Minujín erected another Parthenon of Books nearly a quarter century ago, using books that were banned during Argentina’s military dictatorship rule from 1976-1983.
“I had the idea to create the Parthenon, where the Greeks invented the word ‘democracy,’ and to reproduce it exactly in the middle of Buenos Aires,” she said.
After 5 days, the “Parthenon” was broken down; then the people of Buenos Aires rushed to grab the free books, symbolizing the spread of knowledge and freedom of creativity that comes with the arrival of democracy.
“Democracy without books will not be democracy. Nobody has a right to forbid books because you forbid ideas.”
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