THE MUTATION Print Portfolio is a selection of 5 images from Mike Slack’s recent exhibition, THE MUTATION: Walking with Manzoni, a new body of work Slack made ‘under the influence of I Promessi Sposi‘ in northern Italy during the changing seasons and circumstances of late 2020-2021.
On view through December 15 at Casa Italiana in New York City, the exhibition juxtaposes 45 prints with fragments of Manzoni’s text—newly translated by Michael F. Moore—to suggest new readings and continuities between the events and moods of the past and present, as well as the transformations (and translations) always underway in language, culture, nature, and in the mind’s eye.
The portfolio includes 5 A5 archival pigment prints (148 x 210 mm), signed and numbered in an edition of 5, with a different Manzoni excerpt printed on each portfolio envelope.
There’s a subtle current of humor throughout Mike Slack’s work, a curiosity bordering on cosmic wonder. Often working in series (in the form of artist books), Slack puzzles together seemingly disparate glimpses of the everyday world, finding parallels and associations between his own images as well as between the subjects themselves and the qualities they share. Simple forms seem to recur and mutate in wildly different contexts. The organic world of ‘nature’ echoes the synthetic ‘manmade’ world. His way of looking makes no distinction between the monumental and the nondescript, the ignorable and the interesting.
Whether shooting in color or black and white, Slack’s work reflects
a hunger to see, to collect, to reflect, to be surprised. Whether in editorial work (for Harper’s or the New York Times) or in longer-form book projects — as in the formal rigor of The Transverse Path, or in his pocket-sized Walking in Place series, or the typological one-liner Shrubs of Death — it’s all about the joy of seeing through the lens of a camera, the moment of perception, the pleasure of imagination.