Love Hotel and Galilei's Tooth Author:Yaji Huang Date: 2009-12-10 Size:
Japan love hotels and China bathhouses are built for civilization and human desires.


Liu liyong,Meat No.1,oil on canvas,150x235cmx2,2009

Japan love hotels and China bathhouses are built for civilization and human desires.

In Japan, there are more than 25,000 love hotels providing conveniences and secrecy to not only lovers but also married couples, couples having affairs and prostitutes. Love hotels are usually located near subway stations, visitors check-in and pay through automated machines eliminating the need of staff contact. Many love hotel rooms are decorated with theme interiors and have special apparatus and clothing for the guests to use. Love hotels can be traced back to the hotels in Edo period. The popularity of Japan love hotels shows the lack of privacy and suppression of sexual activities, which in fact is very active in the country.

Bath centers are widely built in recent China. They are rooted in the Roman thermae where Roman aristocrats spent time as social activities, they usually ate, exercised, read, drink, shopped, socialized, and discussed politics there. The opulence of the Roman bath embodies the essence of a culture that thrived on pleasure. In late Roman Empire, the dissolute behaviors were full of baths and the representative of rich aristocrats and politicians.

Roman ate simple in the beginning as well. However, as Empire growing, Roman aristocrats started to prefer imported wine, fruits and rare food. The demand of fish and meat were increasing too. Roman became to cook with many spices, especially India pepper and honey. Gradually, dinner became the most important meal in Roman's lives. Most dinners were arranged from four o'clock to midnight to entertain the guests.

The thriving of pleasure and luxury drives the dissolution of Roman Empire in 476 A.D.

To eat and to have sex is the nature of beings. The pleasures of sex and food reflect the civilization and economy development of a society. Liu Liyong, the young female artist based in Beijing, depicts the common food in her daily life, such as spicy fish dishes to fruits and deserts, as well as bloody raw meat and dirty teeth.

The thriving Chinese bathing and receiving culture depicts country's freedom and wealth. However, on the contrary, it is also the evidence of human unchangeable desires. Liu illustrates foods and meat from realism and microcosm, and represents the reality as extreme ad nauseam. From 2008, Liu started her watermelon series. She paints the red juicy fruits in a microscope perspective and let us almost smell watermelon's unique smell. The watermelon cross section looks as same as the animal flesh. Moreover, it looks wriggling and nearly blasting out. From 2009, Liu started to paint the real flesh. In a huge dipody, the oil and tendon spread out and become a landscape. Could we imagine to walk between it? The Chinese proverb, "meat jungle and wine pool", is no more than that. Meanwhile, Liu shows up another landscape, a forest cultivated by teeth. In the paintings, human mouths are stretched and collaged. Saliva drops from slanting teeth and vapor exhales from the throat. Whose mouths are these? And why they are slightly opened?

In the civilization standard built by the West, beautiful white teeth signify class and wealth. Pleasant breath is also expected. Therefore, people strive to avoid dirty teeth and bad breath. In fact, in Roman Empire, Roman used animal bone ashes as tooth paste. Moreover, the rich Roman aristocrats spent huge money to buy Portuguese urine to whiten their teeth.


Liu liyong,Teeth No.4,oil on canvas,100x1095cm,2009 

Teeth are the symbol of civilization, and are the entrance of human desires. We realize all the objects and metaphors in Liu's works are related to civilization and desire. It is currently the most accurate reflection of China. Even Liu's depiction is not direct, sometimes it is a kind of suppression and avoidance, we can still appreciate the transformation from common objects to human hungers by her mature painting skills. Then we arrive at this question: In the developing China, besides the consumerism and capitalism system, is there any other possibility for people to express and realize their desires?

In November 2009, there is an article about Galileo Galilei's Tooth. "Two fingers and a tooth removed from Galileo Galilei's corpse in a Florentine basilica in the 18th century and given up for lost have been found again, a Florence museum said. Paolo Galluzzi, director of the Museum of the History of Science, said three fingers, a vertebra and a tooth were removed by enthusiastic admirers from the astronomer's body in 1737, 95 years after his death. The container recently turned up at auction and was purchased by a private collector, intrigued by the contents but not sure they were Galileo's relics. The buyer eventually contacted Galluzzi and other Florence culture officials to conclude they were Galileo's fingers and tooth, the museum director said.

Galileo, who died in 1642, was condemned by the Vatican for saying the Earth revolved around the sun. Church teaching at the time held that the Earth was the center of the universe. In the early 1990s, Pope John Paul II rehabilitated him, saying the church had erred."

Galilei's Tooth, with the unchangeable universe, exist more than 400 years, ad will last forever.

[Editor] Elemy Liu