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Parthenon of Books
Original title: Partenón de libros
1983
Photographs, drawings, video, and documents
Reference: ACF0986
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The work of Marta Minujín (Buenos Aires, 1943) is characterised by a Pop imaginary, a focus on participation, and a critical perspective. The main formats she works in are environmental installation and group performance. Her work—which shows an affinity with the experiential postulates of the Fluxus movement and the political commitment of a certain line of Conceptual work—constantly engages in a critical re-examination of history, especially in the Argentine context. Minujín is regarded as one of the pioneers of performance art, and happenings are the model of collective experience that best reflects her understanding of the social function of art. In Partenón de libros, one of the most significant projects carried out by the artist in the 1980s, she celebrated the return of democracy to Argentina by staging a major event: the reconstruction of a full-scale replica of the Greek Parthenon in the centre of Buenos Aires (in a park located between Avenida 9 de Julio and Avenida de Santa Fe). The structure was assembled out of 30,000 books banned by the military junta during the dictatorship. The project links the idea of a monument to a historical grievance given that the number of books incorporated in the structure alludes to the 30,000 people ‘disappeared’ during the dictatorship. The artist also engaged the direct participation of those who visited the work, who at a certain point could help disassemble the installation and take away any of the books they wanted. Partenón de libros thus clearly reflects two key aspects of Minujín’s work: the use of art to address political issues, and the power of collective experience to transform society. Due to its ephemeral nature, the work can now be appreciated only through visual, graphic and textual documents.

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