The ground breaking for the first artistic work of documenta 14, The Parthenon of Books, will take place on Saturday 22 October in Kassel.

documenta is an exhibition of modern and contemporary art, taking place in the German city of Kassel every five years. The next documenta festival, documenta 14, takes place from 10 June to 17 September 2017 in Kassel, with an offshoot documenta festival in Athens from 8 April to 16 July 2017.

documenta 14

Photo: documenta 14

The Parthenon of Books explores the issues of censorship, the persecution of writers and the prohibition of their texts. The artistic work is designed to be a symbol of opposition to the banning of writings and the persecution of authors.

Argentine artist Marta Minujín, in collaboration with the documenta 14 team and Frankfurter Buchmesse, has been collecting books for the exhibit. These are books that have been published again after being banned for years, and books that are distributed legally in some countries, but not in others. Members of the public have been donating books from a list of 60,000 ‘forbidden books’ for a number of weeks. This list will continue to be expanded throughout the project.

The installation in Kassel will be in the form of a replica of the temple in the Acropolis in Athens, symbolising the aesthetic and political ideals of the world’s first democracy. As many as 100,000 banned books from around the world will be used. It will be erected on a symbolic site in Kassel too, where thousands of books have been lost over the years. Friedrichsplatz in Kassel is where 2,000 books were burned during the so-called ‘campaign against the un-German spirit’ (‘Aktion wider den undeutschen geist’). The Fridericianum on Friedrichsplatz – which was previously used as a library – was also bombed in 1941 following an Allied attack, and 350,000 books were lost.

On Saturday 22 October, members of the public are invited to join the symbolic act of beginning the work on The Parthenon of Books, from 15:00.

Website: documenta 14

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