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Artist Recreates Parthenon with 100,000 Banned Books

The full scale replica of the temple is built on site where Nazis burned books.

Art Adrian Lam for RealClearLife

A replica of the Parthenon in Athens, made from 100,000 banned books, has been erected in Kassel, Germany as part of the year’s Documenta art show.

But there’s more historical nuance to artist Marta Ninjuin’s choice of location.

“The Parthenon of Books,” was created, according to Documenta’s own website,  as a “symbol of opposition to the banning of writings and the persecution of their authors.”

The list of books used for the project consists of 170 currently or formerly banned titles and were collected with the help of public donations, as well as supplies from publishers and universities.

Each book used in the work was individually wrapped in plastic to shield it from weather before they being wrapped around the metal columns of the structure. The completed work stands over 32-feet tall and is built to the exact dimensions as the Parthenon.

The site of the installation’s historical significance is well documented—in the history books. This Parthenon of Books is located at Friedrichsplatz, the same site where, in 1933, Nazis burned thousands of books by Jewish and Marxist writers.

The art piece will stay up for a hundred days and will open to the public on June 10.

Parthenon of Books
(Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
Parthenon of Books
(John Macdougal/AFP/Getty Images)
Parthenon of Books
Event worker Daniel Weiss attaches a book on the artwork ‘Parthenon of Books’ at the Documenta 14 art exhibition in Kassel. (Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images)
Parthenon of Books
(Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images)
Parthenon of Books
(John Macdougal/AFP/Getty Images)
Parthenon of Books
(John Macdougal/AFP/Getty Images)
Parthenon of Books
(John Macdougal/AFP/Getty Images)
Parthenon of Books
(Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
Parthenon of Books
Argentinian artist Marta Minujin poses in front of the ‘Parthenon of Books’ at the Documenta 14 art exhibition in Kassel. (Ronny Hartmann/AFP/Getty Images)
Parthenon of Books
(Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)
Parthenon of Books
(Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)