The Parthenon of Books, 2017.
Steel, books, and plastic sheeting.
19.5 × 29.5 × 65.5 m. Commissioned by documenta 14, with support from the Ministry of Media and Culture of Argentina.
South American conceptual artist Marta Minujín has just installed a towering new architectural installation in Germany called The Parthenon of Books, a scaffold replica of the famous Greek temple clad in 100,000 copies of banned books. The piece is currently on view in Kassel, Germany as part of a 100-day art exhibition called Documenta 14.
Minujín worked with students from Kassel University to identify 170 titles that have been historically banned worldwide by various institutions, and then sought help from the public to obtain donated copies. The books were then wrapped in a protective plastic coating to shield them from the elements while allowing visitors to easily identify each title.
An earlier version of The Parthenon of Books was first installed in 1983, referencing an event in Minujín’s native Argentina where books where confiscated and locked up as part of a military junta. This new iteration rests on a site where Nazis burned books by Jewish and Marxist writers in 1933 as part of a broad campaign of censorship.
The Parthenon of Books will be on view through mid-September and you can see more photos at the Instagram hashtag #parthenonofbooks. (thnx, Alice!)
Long fascinated by the design of pipe organs, photographer Robert Götzfried was recently permitted into 20 Catholic churches in southern Germany where he was able to create portraits of these mammoth instruments. When viewed singularly the pipe organ is impressive enough, but collectively the photos tell the story of an ancient instrument that varies so strikingly in design and layout that it’s hard to believe these are somehow the same musical device.
In his photographic practice Götzfried often approaches a variety of similar objects or locales both grand and obscure from Cambodian barber shops to bowling alleys or abandoned gas stations. Through each collection he quickly highlights the similarities or differences that bind a culture or lifestyle together. You can explore more of his photography on Facebook. (via Fubiz)
Johannes Holzer / Caters News Agency
Last October, photographer Johannes Holzer braved the winter cold to setup a series of long-exposure shots along the the Isar, a river in Southern Germany. To accomplish the eye-popping view of the Milky Way, a mountainous landscape, and the murky depths of the river he relied on two cameras to shoot three photos from roughly the same perspective, stitched together here in a final image. Holzer says the photo “was done with two cameras, [the] sky with a Sony A7r and Vixen Polarie Startracker, one additional shot for the landscape without [a] Startracker, [and] underwater was done with a Canon 5Dm2 with an EWA Underwater case.”
Holzer specializes in Milky Way photography and landscapes, you can see much more of his work on Karwendelbilder. (via Reddit)
Like most that read this article, German artist Menja Stevenson has had her fair share of rides in city buses and trains, each of which has forced her (and you) to sit on top of garishly designed uniform seating. The fabric, as investigated by this article on the BBC, is not only made to outlast spills and stains, but also trends, as many of the painfully drab designs can last a decade or more.
Interested in this accident-resistant material, Stevenson began sourcing and creating outfits out of the fabric in 2006 for her project Bustour. The project forced her to persuade German transportation companies to personally ship her the fabric, as they are not commercially available. After finally obtaining the material she designed clothes that aesthetically camouflaged herself within each bus or train interior matching the fabric, capturing the reaction of fellow passengers.
“Wearing them, you sweat like crazy, they feel like a knight’s armor and it’s hard to act naturally,” said Stevenson. “I couldn’t believe that many people didn’t realize the connection seeing me and the seats together. Did they think that it was sheer coincidence? Some curious people at least talked to me, and a very few laughed, but most passengers would look shyly at me and quickly look the other way again.”
You can see archived documentation of these reactions (or lack there of) on Stevenson’s website. If you’re searching for a slightly more practical use for old transportation fabric take a look at the bags and accessories made from airplane seat fabric by Fallen Furniture (previously). (via This Isn’t Happiness)
“Bustour M (Münster public bus)” (2015)
“Public Pattern / Bustouren” (2006)
“Bustour S (Stuttgart Metro)” (2008)
“Bustour B (Bielefeld public bus)” (2015)
“Bustour RW (Rottweil public bus)” (2010)
German conceptual artist HA Schult (b. 1939) has often worked in the realm of other people’s trash, creating large scale-works that force art into everyday life and call attention to the massive consumption of Western society. In Schult’s installation “Trash People,” he built hundreds of human-sized figures with cans, license plates, and soda bottles—a trash army built from garbage dumps that has been traveling the world for the last 19 years.
For his 2001 piece “Love Letters Building,” Schult used purposeful documentation instead of unwanted detritus to cover the facade of a former Berlin post office. Schult sent out a call for love letters—a gesture highlighting modern German romanticism, and a not-so-subtle reminder of the age before quick exchange email. The response to his public request was overwhelming. The resulting 150,000 letters ranged from heartfelt to humorous, subjects ranging between lovers, relatives, and even an owner and a pet.
A letter from the latter read, “I can’t live without you. The loss feels deeper by the day.” Then ends with the words, “It is a pity you’re a cat.”
About 35,000 of the collected letters were used to plaster the outside of the building in a colorful mass of whites, reds, oranges, and blues, while about 115,000 more were found inside. (via RIKA
picture alliance / dpa
Austrian artist Erwin Wurm has become famous in part for his humorous sculptural treatments of iconic vehicles that are stretched, inflated, and twisted into seemingly impossible shapes. One such sculpture of a bent red Mercedes-Benz food truck installed on a street in Karlsruhe, Germany, just met the fate of an overzealous officer who slapped the car with a parking ticket without knowledge of the vehicle’s artistic merit. I hope this was a joke, I can only imagine Wurm’s fine for driving this through the city. (via Metro, Sham Jaff, Stellar)