‘Negative Photography’ unveils Kayoumin’s unique artistic journey

"Not Totally Negative: In Memory of Kayoumin" (Coutrtesy of Sincere Art Gallery/誠空間/Facebook)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — Members and friends of Taiwan’s foreign community gathered on Nov. 29 for the opening of “Not Totally Negative: In Memory of Kayoumin” — a commemorative exhibit on the unique work and life journey of French artist Guillaume Cadilhac (1968-2020), better known as Kayoumin — that runs until Dec. 13 (Sun.) at Sincere Art Gallery (誠空間) in Taipei.  

“Not Totally Negative: In Memory of Kayoumin” runs at Sincere Art Gallery (誠空間) in Taipei until Dec. 13 (Sun.). (Courtesy of Wang Chien-yu)

Kayoumin, also known as “Kaka” (卡卡) by his many friends and relatives, began his work and artistic journey in China where he pursued his passion for martial arts and the Chinese language and worked as a radio anchor in Guangzhou.

Some members and friends of the foreign community attend the opening of the exhibition on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Courtesy of Wang Chien-yu)

After promoting French arts and culture and encouraging cultural exchanges for more than a decade, he was conferred with a “Knight of the Order of the Arts and Letters” — a French government distinction conferred to those who have contributed to the influence of arts in France and the rest of the world.

The wife of Kayoumin, Tang Hsiang-yi, gestures during the opening of the exhibition on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Courtesy of Wang Chien-yu)

This award was an acknowledgment of Kayoumin’s dedicated work and an encouragement to continue his artistic journey which eventually led him to Taiwan. Over the past 10 years, his interest in negative photography, in particular, drew most of his attention with several successful exhibitions.

“Not Totally Negative: In Memory of Kayoumin” features the french artist’s various series on photographs and mixed-media works. (Courtesy of Wang Chien-yu)

“Not Totally Negative: In Memory of Kayoumin” beautifully retraces this artistic journey with three of Kayoumin’s series of work (photographs and mixed-media) that highlight how the area surrounding the main subject in a photograph, which is usually invisible to the viewers, can be unveiled through negative photography.

French artist Olivier Ferrieux (歐笠嵬) attends the opening of the exhibition on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. (Courtesy of Wang Chien-yu)

This original technique works particularly well with Kayoumin’s still images of objects, sculptures and other compositions that thrive with energy and colors. Most people don’t know but the artist drew most of his inspiration from negative snapshots of his daily life. 

You can actually learn first hand about his work technique at the exhibition which features a small space that recreates his photography workshop and boasts many of the props and lights he used on his works. A short documentary also gives you a hint at the artist’s charming personality and creative spirit.

Kayoumin is survived by his wife, Tang Hsiang-yi, center in the front row, and his many, many friends. (Courtesy of Wang Chien-yu)

For Kayoumin, negative photography not only creates a multiplicity of interpretations of everything but also challenges our perception of the sensory world. In other words, it embodies a reflection on the relationship between the individual, nature and society. 

“Not Totally Negative: In Memory of Kayoumin” features a small space that recreates his workshop. (Courtesy of Wang Chien-yu)

This exhibition showcases three series of negative photography works, including “Deities Project,” “Still Life Series” and “Crystal Series.” In the words of two French people who have been living in Taiwan, the “Deities Project” presents the meaning behind the roles of deities playing in modern Taiwanese society. 


Sincere Art Gallery (誠空間) |  8-10, Alley 7, Lane 113, Section 3, Minsheng East Road, Songshan District, Taipei City