Gigantic breathing lotus flowers by Korean artist

Choi Jeong Hwa - Perth International Art Festival - Moving Flower, 2012
Choi Jeong Hwa – Moving Flower, Perth International Art Festival, Australia, 2012

Introduction

Sustainable art or art that is heavily centered on themes of nature is art that seeks to make human beings think deeply about the impact of their lifestyle choices on the environment. Korean artist and designer Choi Jeong Hwa has racked up a reputation in industry circles for his grandiose sculptural installations that comment on the privileged environment of art institutions while at the same time questioning the valued status of today’s artworks within a consumer frantic contemporary world.

Choi Jeong Hwa is mostly known for his large lotus blossoms. With motorized fabric leaves opening and closing, simulating the movement of a live lotus flower, his sculptures are often installed in public space and create a link between the modern world and one of the most important cosmological symbols in Asia.

The meaning of the Breathing Lotus Flower

The Breathing Lotus Flower was installed back in 2012 outside the main square of the Asian Art Museum located in San Francisco. The Breathing Flower consisted of a 24-foot-diameter moving/mobile sculpture of a lotus flower created by Choi Jeong Hwa. Made out of motorized fabric, the leaves of the bright red lotus would open and close slowly-mimicking the movement of a real lotus flower.

The Breathing Lotus Flower was not Hwa’s first lotus installation. As a matter of fact, Hwa is known all over the world for his Lotus sculptures, many of which are often installed in public areas and spaces. In the Asian culture, lotus flowers are huge. The importance of the lotus flower stems primarily from Buddhism but the lotus is featured regularly in both artistic expression, as well as in cultural forms and practices.

In particular, the breathing Lotus Flower was made to symbolize purity and elegance while his choice of the red hue represented good luck and strength. Although the lotus flower’s enormous size could not be missed, it is the breathing movement of the leaves that really helped to catch people’s attention. The sculptor, which traveled all over the world, was made out of synthetic fabric to represent the natural beauty of the world.

Choi Jeong Hwa’s biography

Hwa is one of the most well-known contemporary artists that hail from Korea. He has handled several projects around Europe, as well as in Asia and has built a reputation for himself as one of the premier artists of his generation. Hwa as both a designer and artist has worked across a range of disciplines including including art, graphic design, industrial design as well as architecture.

He utilizes a broad range of media that involve molded plastic, video, lights and wires, shopping trolleys, real and fake food, annd kitsch Korean artifacts. His practice comments on the privileged environment of art institutions and questions the prized status of artworks amidst a consumer-frenzied world.

His playful artwork has also been featured in several biennials of contemporary art including the Liverpool Biennial, the Yokohama Triennale, the Gwangju Biennale, as well as the Arsenale Kyiv (2012), the 17th Sydney Biennial (2010), the Venice Biennale – Korean pavilion (2005), the CP Biennale (2005), the Lyon Biennale (2003), the São Paulo Biennale (1998) and the Taipei Biennale (1998). Choi Jeong Hwa was born 1961 in Seoul, Korea. Hwa currently lives and works in his studio situated in Seoul.

Photos of Breathing Flowers (red)

Choi Jeong Hwa - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston - Breathing Flower, 2016
Choi Jeong Hwa – Breathing Flower, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, USA, 2016, Photo by Cassidy Hopkins

Choi Jeong Hwa - Civic Center Plaza San Francisco - Breathing Flower, 2012
Choi Jeong Hwa – Breathing Flower, Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, USA, 2012

Choi Jeong Hwa - Civic Center Plaza San Francisco - Breathing Flower, 2012
Choi Jeong Hwa – Breathing Flower, Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, USA, 2012

Choi Jeong Hwa - Kunsthalle Gwangju - Breathing Flower 거시기 What Is It, 2011
Choi Jeong Hwa – Breathing Flower 거시기 What Is It, Kunsthalle Gwangju, South Korea, 2011

Choi Jeong Hwa - Kunsthalle Gwangju - Breathing Flower 거시기 What Is It, 2011
Choi Jeong Hwa – Breathing Flower 거시기 What Is It, Kunsthalle Gwangju, South Korea, 2011

Choi Jeong Hwa - Perth International Art Festival - Moving Flower, 2012
Choi Jeong Hwa – Moving Flower, Perth International Art Festival, Australia, 2012

Choi Jeong Hwa - Breathing Flower - 3
Choi Jeong Hwa – Breathing Flower

Choi Jeong Hwa - Biennale of Sydney, 2010
Choi Jeong Hwa – Biennale of Sydney, Australia, 2010

Photos of Breathing Flowers (white)

Choi Jeong Hwa - Venice Biennale - White Lotus, 2005
Choi Jeong Hwa – White Lotus, Venice Biennale, Italy, 2005

Choi Jeong Hwa - Breathing Flower
Choi Jeong Hwa – Breathing Flower

Photos of Breathing Flowers (black)

Choi Jeong Hwa - M+ - Hong Kong - Emptiness Is Form. Form is emptiness, 2013
Choi Jeong Hwa – Emptiness Is Form. Form is emptiness, M+ – Hong Kong, 2013

Choi Jeong Hwa - M+ - Hong Kong - Emptiness Is Form. Form is emptiness, 2013
Choi Jeong Hwa – Emptiness Is Form. Form is emptiness, M+ – Hong Kong, 2013

Choi Jeong Hwa - Breathing Flower - 1
Choi Jeong Hwa – Breathing Flower

Choi Jeong Hwa - Breathing Flower - 2
Choi Jeong Hwa – Breathing Flower

Choi Jeong Hwa - No Lotus, 2006. Asia House, London
Choi Jeong Hwa – No Lotus, Asia House, London, 2006

Photos of Breathing Flowers (gold)

Choi Jeong Hwa - Kyiv, 2012
Choi Jeong Hwa – Kyiv, Russia, 2012

Choi Jeong Hwa - Mori Museum - Art Night Roppongi, 2010
Choi Jeong Hwa – Mori Museum – Art Night Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan, 2010

Choi Jeong Hwa - Mori Museum - Art Night Roppongi, 2010
Choi Jeong Hwa – Mori Museum – Art Night Roppongi, Tokyo, Japan, 2010

Videos of Choi Jeong Hwa’s Lotus Flowers

Perth International Art Festival, Australia, 2012

Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, USA, 2012

Civic Center Plaza, San Francisco, USA, 2012

Hong Kong International Art Fair, 2012

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