03/12/2012 02:58 pm ET Updated Mar 12, 2012

Breathing Flower, A Giant Moving Lotus Sculpture, Headed To San Francisco's Civic Center Plaza (PHOTOS)

Admit it, life in San Francisco has felt just a little bit less magical since the two-headed, six-armed, 27-foot tall, copper Buddha disappeared from Civic Center plaza last month.

The instantly iconic, 15-ton statue was the work of Chinese artist Zhang Huan, and its year-long encampment between City Hall and the Asian Art Museum was intended to celebrate San Francisco's sister city relationship with Shanghai.


While that statue has only been gone for a few weeks, a new, equally eye-catching work is already on the way.

Timed to coincide with the Asian Art Museum's Phantoms of Asia exhibition, Civic Center Plaza will soon play host to Korean artist Choi Jeon Hwa's Breathing Flower sculpture--a 24-foot tall, bright red recreation of a lotus flower with motorized petals set up to open and close throughout the course of the day.

A curatorial statement from the Asian Art Museum details some of the meaning behind the work:

Looking closely at this large lotus by artist Choi Jeong Hwa one notices that it appears to be full of life, its petals slowly inhaling and exhaling. This is typical of the work of Choi, who takes pleasure in giving new life and meaning to otherwise inanimate and disregarded materials. Long a familiar flower in Asia and associated with both Hindu and Buddhist mythology, the lotus is remarkable for its ability to emerge from murky waters and mud, and blossom into an elegant flower. Choi created his lotus from everyday materials that, unlike a real lotus, will never disintegrate and die, and ultimately urge the viewer to meditate on the beauty and fragility of the natural world around us.

Breathing Flower will be on display in the plaza starting on May 18th on through mid-September.

Take a look at various images of Breathing Flower's incarnations around the world below: