BAK Changuk

BAK Changuk(art B project)

B.F.A., Kookmin University

Born in 1982, BAK Changuk is an emerging Korean abstract painter. He creates unique images and patterns in his quest to understand both the inner side and appearance of human individuals, human existence, and relationships through his own abstract expression and style.

Since 2008, he has worked with various museums, galleries, and art centers in Korea, including 20 solo exhibitions, 20 group exhibitions, and participation in two residency programs.

Bak’s unique works are part of the Lotte Hotel and Sungkok Museum collections.

He currently lives and works in Seoul, Korea

Bak Changuk’s keyword for this year are “light” and “trust.” He has been expressing his thoughts on “relationship” with a different keyword every year since 2014.

The artist has been defining relationship, which is formless and thus intangible, to mean different things rather than adhering to a single definition so they reflect a range of different experiences and feelings he has been through.

Bak Changuk believes that the world is established based on the foundation of trust and that its values were formed and constructed through predictions, assumptions, and evaluations.

In fact, trust is neither visible nor tangible, but it is the glue that holds relationships together. This is because the power that maintains relationships is the willingness of our minds to trust others whom we wish to build relationships with.

Relationships are supposed to shine amongst us as light and memories. However, the post-COVID world we live in today is one in which contact-free, non-face-to-face interactions have become the norm. In such a world, trust is lost and we even witness self-alienation.

Bak Changuk always strives to find the origin of trust and uses his art as a channel for communication with the audience to establish their definitions of trust.

BAK Changuk
B.F.A. Gukmin univ.
Solo Exhibition
2022. 8 ‘BELIEVE IT OR NOT’, art B projct,seoul
2021. 9 ‘Beyond the light’, art B project, Seoul
2021. 5 ’Interval of memory’, artspace J, Seongnam
2020. 9 ‘A space in betweenness of spatiality’, art b project, Seoul
2019. 5 ‘Path finder’, Gallery Misulsegye, Seoul
2019. 3 ‘Spindle, Accumulated surface’, Gallery Insa art, Seoul
2018. 10 ‘Spindle, The beginning of A story’ , Gallery Daon, Seoul
2018. 5 ‘Vortex, Invisible, Axis#3’ , Artistar, Seoul
2018. 3 ‘Colors in the volume#4’ , Artistar, Seoul
2017. 2 ‘Vortex, Invisible, Axis#2’ , Jeollabuk-do Headoffice, Jeonju
2016. 11 ‘Colors in the volume#3’ , Grange, Seoul
2016. 9 ‘Vortex, Invisible, Axis’ ,Gallery Jung, Seoul
2016. 3 ‘Colors in the volume#2’ , Zephyr beans, Seoul
2016. 1 ‘Colors in the volume’ ,Gana art space, Seoul
2015. 11 ‘Bilm, Dolm’ ,Emok Culture Space, Seoul
2015. 7 ‘The path of origin’ , Seongbuk young art space, Seoul
2015. 6 ‘The path of contact’ , Gallery chung lim, Gwangmyeong
2015. 5 ‘The path of contact’ , Zephyr beans, Seoul
2011. 6 ‘The path of with_ness’ , comfort zone BAR, Seoul
2008. 4 ‘White shadow’ , Gallery Kook-min University, Seoul
Group Exhibition
2021. 7 ‘각양각선; Beginning of diversity’, art b project, Seoul
2021. 5 ‘One afternoon in MAY’, art b project, Seoul
2020. 4 ‘You must believe in spring’, A-Bunker, Seoul
2018. 1 ADM community gallery, Seoul
Art Fair
2018. 7 ZEBRA Art Fair, SUWON
2016. 10 Union Art Fair, Gallery Nemo, SEOUL
2016. 4 Art Cosmopolitan 2016 JEJU, Shilla Stay Jeju, JEJU
2016. 7 ~2016.12 Hwi-mok resdency, Bu-an
2016. 1 ~2016. 6 Ik-san publicArt resdency, Ik-san
2016. 5 ‘달, 소유되지 않는, 기억’project, 익산 문화예술의 거리
2016. 6 ‘익산, 보이지 않는, 기억’project, 익산역 로비
작품 소장
Sofitel Ambassador hotel
Lotte hotel
Lotte Signiel hotel
BC card
KT head office
Seongok museum
Hwimok museum etc

Curator: Jinsang Yoo & Artist : Changuk BAK


Q. Your paintings start from charcoal, and as countless layers overlap, the final outcome leads to a brilliant dispersion of light similar to that seen in mother-of-pearl craftwork. What motivated you to choose such a process as your painting method?
I wanted to make artworks that show variations with changes in light. I make my works by using the opposing qualities of carbon-based charcoal, which absorbs light, and pearl pigments, which reflect light. By placing small glass beads on the surface that attract light and have various colors on the surface disperse, I tried to express the beautiful quality of light.


Q. There is a myriad of small particles on your surface, and depending on how they are perceived, they can appear extremely microscopic or resemblent of images of the macroscopic universe. Did you expect such association?
Since young, I have been interested in scientific studies, such as physics that deals with massive or minute movements or chemistry, which studies the ways elements or matters combine. I was particularly fascinated by the universe when I would look up to the night sky and find stars. Learning from encyclopedias and documentaries that there exist realms like space or microscopic worlds that are unobservable was astonishing. The surprise came from not so much from yearning for what I cannot know, but from noticing that the movement of the gigantic universe or the minute waves of particles were similar to human relationships in many ways. I believe that my thinking and experience are naturally revealed in my artworks through the process of association.

The central theme that runs through my works is “encounters.” Whether it is an object, person, or animal, once contact is made with the external environment, they constantly move to continue such encounters. Events arise from encounters, and these events revert as memories and become the basis of what construct invisible relationships. In the end, we move and live for these encounters.

Since movement is the focal point of my artworks, macroscopic cosmic movement and microscopic dynamics are reflected in clashes, frictions, and physical traces.


Q. There are works titled Ellipses in your collection of works. The overlapping, oval lines look like they are being absored into the background, as if they reflect the dual meaning of the word ellipses, which is “omission” or “extinction”. Another series is titled Alief, which means the absence of belief. What do these titles convey?
Every year, I present a new keyword on relationships for encounters. In Ellipse, I used gravitational force to change existing circles or curves into elliptical forms. The world filled with light and color functions like a background, and things that exist within it constantly move, yet they are no different from things that fade away as if they become extinct. “Alief” is “hypothetical-belief.” Establishing and maintaining relationships starts with the willingness to believe in others. I chose this title to think about the meaning of “belief” in relationships in a world where it is hard to tell what to believe outside our bubbles.


Q. Your works have unique compositions that leave strong impressions with images that resemble two or three large brushstrokes. The sense of speed, composition that fully occupies the canvas, and the light and shade effect remind us of oriental paintings. Was this intended?
I never received training in oriental painting or Korean painting. However, I did intend to convey Asian sentiment. I depicted a sense of speed and presented the light-and-shade effect as I would with brushstrokes, and also created compositions that resemble bold brushstrokes. Through these, I wished to emphasize movement itself, like constantly tracing the same letter over and over again when we practice handwriting.


Q. Circles and curves seem to be recurring elements in your works. Sometimes, these circles and curves look like they express action as in gestural paintings or abstract expressionist paintings, and in other times, they look like outlines of symbols that have been magnified. Why do you prefer them?
I think abstraction results from the effort to step closer to essential forms by extracting or discovering common characteristics or qualities from various objects or concepts. To me, movements that are closest to the essence of nature are found in circles or curves rather than straight lines that look and feel artificial. When abstractly expressing or depicting the movement of the world, circular or curved movements that use joints or the human body as axes demonstrate the most natural form and are also better than using technical movements that have been learned. That is why I prefer circles and curves over other shapes and forms.