PR man's double life as an artist leads to Venice Biennale

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 May, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 May, 2007, 12:00am

The double life of the public relations manager of Igor's Group, Hiram To (right), will take him to Venice at the end of the month.

To members of the media, he's the guy arranging press dinners and interviews for such restaurants as the Crabshack, Cavern and Wildfire. But in the visual arts community, he's one of the creative minds in curator Norman Ford's project 'Star Fairy', which will represent Hong Kong at the annual Venice Biennale arts festival in June.

'I was a full-time artist when I lived in Australia for 10 years,' To explained. 'But I decided I wanted other careers, too. In a way, being an artist is quite passive. You're constantly waiting for the next opportunity for a grant or an exhibition. Plus, it gives you an insight into other people's perspectives when you work on different sides of commerce and culture. They inform each other.'

To's abstract installation, opaquely called I Love You More Than My Own Death, is about transformation and fame, and has overlapping images of fruit and the Cultural Revolution. 'I take a lot of inspiration from Hong Kong, but it's very filtered. I'm not interested in making very parochial works using provincial language.'

In other words, it's hard to know what it's really about.