Enzo Mari; Umberto Eco: Inchiesta su “Modulo 856”, 1967


xerox / handout / press release
San Marino, San Marino
s. p.


[San Marino]: self-published, 1967 (09), 28×22 cm. Single sheet printed only recto. This questionnaire accompanied the “Modulo 856” installation by Enzo Mari created for VI Biennale di San Marino. Viewers were invited to enter a minimal wooden structure, one at a time, only to find themselves confronted by a mirror paired with a set of fundamental questions, devised by [Umberto] Eco. Extremely scarce work by Mari / Eco, predating the famous participatory works of Hans Haacke by a good 2 years [starting with his rudimentary questionnaire at the Howard Wise gallery solo show in 1969].


The questionnaire consisted of 3 fundamental questions all to be answered by underlining one of the options provided. It is clearly stated in the beginning that ‘The conclusions of the investigation will be published & the [resulting] material can be consulted by interested parties. [The]y [questionnaires] can also be signed.”

What is this?
A work of art / Not a work of art / A machine for psychological experiments.

Do you like it?
Yes / No / I find it annoying

What does it mean?
· It is the maximum point of pop art: by dint of isolating real objects and exhibiting them as a work, the visitor is now led to consider himself, half-length, as a painting. · It is the maximum point of op art: now the spectator is totally free, to determine the movements of the [part of the] work that looks, and with the support of the most classic of optical illusions, [of] the one given by the mirror image.
· It is the most complete fusion of op and pop: a real object is exhibited, the visitor, endowed with maximum mobility.
· is a satire of neo-figurative needs
· mocks, taking them at their word, those who complain that man is absent from contemporary art.

· retells the myth of Narcissus.
· revisits the motto of the temple of Delphi: “Know thyself”. · is an act of protest against art exhibitions.

condition: Previously folded. VG condition.