Thomas Kong lives in Chicago, where he and his wife manage Kim’s Corner Food, a convenience store located in the city’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Working in collage and assemblage, and primarily using repurposed advertising materials and product packaging from the store, Kong’s prolific production occurs entirely at Kim’s Corner Food during business hours: 8AM to 8PM, seven days a week. The store features an evolving installation of work Kong has made during the past six years, and since October 2015 a loosely-sorted archive of thousands of his works has been open to visitors in an adapted storage room onsite. Known as The Back Room, it includes an idiosyncratic presentation space and hosts a series of exhibitions conceived and put together by artists and thinkers whose practices intersect with Kong’s.Kong received a degree in English Literature from Sogang University, Seoul, in 1972, and has lived in Chicago since 1977. In 2015, he had a solo exhibition at Pony Club in Portland, Oregon and was included in a two-person exhibition with John Neff at Night Club, Chicago. Recent solo exhibitions include Be Happy (A Proposal) at Roman Susan, Chicago, and Fillerup at Coco Hunday, Tampa.
Dan Miller is an Australian artist living in Chicago, where he recently completed an MFA in Art Theory & Practice at Northwestern University. Since the northern autumn of 2014 he has worked with Thomas Kong in an experimental collaboration whose projects include The Back Room at Kim’s Corner Food. This exhibition is the second offsite Thomas Kong project he has organised, and the first outside the United States.
Image: Thomas Kong | Untitled cut-paper collage on manila, envelope, c.2010-16, 254 x 330 mm. Installation view, Thomas Kong, Fillerup, Coco Hunday, Tampa, FL,
USA, March–May 2016