Learning from Timbuktu – The Gennadius Library

The Gennadius Library, Athens, Greece
08 Apr 2017 - 16 Jul 2017

Gennadius Library, Image via www.ascsa.edu.gr, © Copyright 2017 The American School of Classical Studies at Athens,
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During documenta 14, the Gennadius Library hosts Learning from Timbuktu, a project by curator Igo Diarra.

In 1922, diplomat and bibliophile Joannes Gennadius offered his 26,000-volume library to the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. The collection’s home, designed by the American architects Van Pelt and Thompson, was built on a site provided by the Greek government and inaugurated in 1926. The collection, among the most important in Greece, traces Hellenism from antiquity through the periods of the Ottoman Empire and the 1821 Greek Revolution and includes works on major aspects of political, social, and cultural life in twentieth-century Greece. It also contains a unique group of nineteenth-century travel journals as well as donations by Nobel laureates Giorgos Seferis and Odysseas Elytis, the writer and urban historian Elias Petropoulos, and the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann.

Learning from Timbuktu, a project by curator Igo Diarra is involving artists from the network he has built up as the founder and director of the art space La Medina in Bamako, Mali. Boubacar Sadek, Mamary Diallo , Anboudalaye Ndoye, Abdou Ouologuem and Seydou Camara are presenting works with writing, calligraphy, and traditional arts that are on display in showcases, along the balustrade, and on the gallery.

A film by Ross Birrell, dedicated to the recent destruction by fire of the library of the Glasgow School of Art, originally designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, provides a counter-narration.

In the gardens of the Gennadius Library, another library is created by Turkish artist Banu Cennetoglu: 145 slabs of lithographic limestone bear the words of the diary of Gurbetelli Ersöz, a Kurdish revolutionary from Turkey. The diary was once published as a book and has now been condemned to vanish.

You can visit the exhibition at no charge during the opening hours of the Library:
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday – 9:00 to 17:00
Thursday – 9:00 to 20:00
Saturday – 9:00 to 14:00