‘What is authenticity? For me, authenticity is artificial. Artificiality produces today’s authentic world.’

Born 1969, Taipei. Lives and works in Taipei

Chen Wen-Chi travelled to five different Asian cities and recorded his observations in a series of black-and-white photographs shot with his mobile phone. He used a vintage filter app to make the photographs appear antique, and presents them pinned like insect specimens, juxtaposed with text made using obsolete lead type, in wooden boxes like museum cases. It seems to be a glimpse into the past, an explorer’s diary perhaps, but these images were all recorded in today’s fast-changing urban world. Shanghai through his lens is not the hypermodern metropolis of glass and steel towers and Jetsons-style concrete fly-overs but rather a place of narrow twisting alleys cluttered with washing hanging from powerlines. Past or present? Truth or fiction? Chen Wen-Chi leaves us guessing. He says: ‘I am mixing the false with the genuine, or replacing the genuine with the false; true is false, false is also true.’

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