The Parthenon of Books
The documenta 14, the most important exhibition of contemporary art in the world, is taking place in Kassel again (every 5 years). The most prominent piece of art is the Parthenon Of Books by Marta Minujín (Argentina), located on the central Friedrichsplatz, the largest sqaure in Kassel. The Parthenon of Books is a huge scaffold installation with the dimensions and appearance of the Parthenon in Athena, Greece, one of the central symbols of democracy. It is covered by foiled-up books. The books have been donated by publishing companies and by citizens, so everybody can be part of this art installation. The books have one thing in common: they are or have been prohibited somewhere. There is a handy short list and a not so handy more complete list of prohibited books that has been compiled by the students of the department of German philological studies of the Universität Kassel. I donated more or less 15 books including my beautiful edition of "Don Quijote" that I bought back in 2003 in Quito / Ecuador at the book fair in the El Ejido park, as I have a very similar one that was a birthday gift from my friends from my Erasmus semester in Palma / Spain. Nevertheless this was a donation that was not easy for me as I in general don't like to give away books. But I feel quite satisfied to see my beloved Don Quijote on a very prominet position at eye level at one of the central pillar at the outside when coming from south. When documenta is ended in some days, the books shall be given as gifts for the visitors. Standing inside of the Parthenon has its own thrill: The installation is huge and impressive, the idea all those books, pages, paragraphs, sentences, words and thoughts have been prohibited by a government is oppresive. Its location, the Friedrichsplatz, has its own story to tell: When the Nazis were burning books in Germany, in Kassel they did it right here. In the palace located at the Friedrichsplatz which is today known as Museum Fridericianum was a huge library once, but it lost all its books to the fires that destroyed large parts of Kassel after the allied bombing in 1943. And Jacob Grimm, the elder of the two famous Brothers Grimm worked in this very library for the censorship administration of King Jérôme Bonaparte, the brother of Napoelon Bonaparte. So, in many ways, the Parthenon of Book gives visitors a lot of good reasons to contemplate about censorship.