Baik, Kumnam

UDA Medallion 2013

Graphic Designer

Seoul, Korea



Baik, Kum-nam was born in Euijoo, Pyunganbukdo Province in North Korea. During the Korean Civil War, he took refuge in Pusan and spent his youth in Daegu. He entered the design department of Hongik University, receiving a full-scale training in design. He laid the foundation to build a comprehensive and wide range of art world through active student activities and creating works until he graduated from Hongik graduate school.

In 1981, he graduated from Kyunghee University, majoring in Art Education. He also graduated from Jungang University, majoring in Public relations and Advertisement in 1982. The scope of his study has been broadly expanded and he finished a doctorate course in the Art History Graduate School of Dongkuk University, majoring in Korean Art History. In 1976, he started to teach as a Full-time lecturer of Sungkyunkwan University and has taught for more than 36 years as a design professor of University. He also served as the Dean of the Art College and Graduate school between 1998 and 2000. He taught at Art School of Yanbian University, which has been exchanging faculty and students for ten years, in Yanji city, Jilin Province of China as a Visiting Professor and he was appointed as a guest professor at the Art College of Heilongjiang University. There are several universities in China and Taiwan he has attended as a visiting professor.

He also made a considerable achievement not only in his pursuit of academic achievement and artistic creation but also in and out of his field. He joined the Korean Industrial Artist Association in 1969 and has served as Chief administrator, steering committee member, central committee member, vice chairman, and chairman and was appointed as Chief executive in 2004. While focusing his effort on Korean Society for Experimentation in Contemporary Design which he founded with his colleagues, he has also expanded his turf of activity consistently by taking the important posts in Visual Information Design Association of Korea, Korean Branding Association and serves as an advisor of Korea Book Art Association. From 1976, he has taken the post of the Korean National Design Exhibition Recommendation Artist, Guest artist, Steering committee member, Evaluation member and the Steering committee member of the Seoul Conference of Icograda International Graphic Design, Design Expert Committee Chairman of the 2002 FIFA World Cup and the Executive Chairman of Korea International Poster Biennale which was held for the first time in Korea in 2002. Moreover, he was also the chief of the 2008 Icograda Design Organization committee in Daegu, Korea, and has been a member of the Design committee/chief of the department of graphic design in the 2014 Incheon Asian Games. As to the group activity on printing, he served as the Chairman of the Korean Contemporary Printmaker Association and has been working For 35 years, taking important posts in the Korean Creative Printmaker Association, Seoul Artist’ Methods Association, and the Art Forum International, Korean Fine Art Association and Seoul Fine Art Association. He has held his personal exhibitions 156 times in all – 27 times in Korea and 129 times abroad. His first personal exhibition was a poster exhibition with the theme of “When a leaf kept waving” which could be viewed as a daring new attempt in the Korean artistic world which had its limits in the depth and breadth of appreciation of design in general.

Printmaker Baik is based on three important characteristics which modern art has. His devotion to letter series could be understood from the footstep of modern molding. First of all, his work has conceptual characteristics. It allows us to take a glimpse of a root of conceptual art that the art of the last century pursued so vigorously. At the same time, his works transcend conceptual art. His works, by incorporating the characteristics of graphics into woodblock printing, are changing graphemic art values which is the goal of modern art into most Korean values, namely, the goal which modern art has pursued from the start. His works start from allegory and end in metaphor. At the same time, again, it comes out of its screen and combines and unifies his world and our world. Therefore, his prints are always unfamiliar as well as familiar at the same time. Shapes and colors are interesting. They always appeal to us with unfamiliar friendliness because the incessant argument of life is contained in his allegorical expressions.