Hennessy Launching Daytime Explosion Event By Artist Cai Guo-Qiang As Sign Of Hope And Global Unity
On September 25, Hennessy will team up with artist Cai Guo-Qiang for “A World Odyssey,” a daytime explosion event to be held on the Charente in Cognac, France. Livestreamed from Cognac to audiences worldwide, the artist’s The Birth of Tragedy firework display honors the universal values of resilience, courage and hope.
Cai Guo-Qiang is renowned for his unique use of gunpowder and fireworks as an artistic medium to stage spectacular public events of intense emotional resonance, as he did for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
This impassioned fireworks display was designed as an uplifting event amid the unprecedented context of a pandemic. Inspired by Nietzsche’s “The Birth of Tragedy,” Cai Guo-Qiang composed a 15-minute fireworks event in three acts to honor the eternal cycle of creation and destruction and the human spirit that, while acknowledging pain, nonetheless embraces and rejoices in life, in harmony with nature. Multicolored fireworks will launch from 150 oak barrels floating on the Charente River that echo Hennessy X.O’s 150th anniversary.
In a first for the Maison, “World Odyssey” will be unveiled internationally via livestream on Friday, September 25th at 3pm CET (6am PT) . For the artist, this project represents the first time he has conceived a daytime explosion event launched from an aquatic environment, to be broadcast to a global, real-time audience.
“In these unprecedented times, what has become particularly clear is that we are one interconnected family,” says Hennessy president and CEO Laurent Boillot. “At Hennessy, our roots run deep thanks to longstanding relationships reaching back generations. Today, from his base in New York City, Cai Guo-Qiang reminds us of those time-honored bonds with a masterpiece of universal beauty and resonance. On behalf of the Maison Hennessy, it is not only an honor and a privilege to host this artistic event, it is a demonstration of our steadfast commitment to our extended international family. A century and a half after the Hennessy X.O saga began, Cai offers an artistic vision of an Odyssey forged by unity, resilience and hope. In the exceptional context of 2020, those values guide us, reminding us how far we’ve come, and how far we can still travel together. From our vantage point in Cognac, where fireworks from the East – Liuyang county in China – blooms in the sky overlooking the Charente, Hennessy and Cai are proud to welcome one and all to participate in an artistic event that honors generosity of spirit and looks to new horizons with renewed courage.”
Says Cai Guo-Qiang, “We are now entering a new chapter of humankind’s strenuous odyssey. The signal from Cognac, travelling through cloud infrastructure, connects individuals from different parts of the world, enabling primeval passion to burst and form a community of shared future that is closely bonded with nature and art. While the fireworks express my contemplation on tragedy, art, and the essence of life, I hope the audience will draw inspiration from the fireworks in order to reconcile with nature and find the power to heal.”
Hennessy’s “World Odyssey” carries a dual message from the illustrious cognac maker and the artist, one of consolation to those affected by the pandemic, and of confidence in the future that will be livestreamed across digital platforms including Hennessy.com, WeChat, Tencent, Facebook, and YouTube.
Hennessy and Cai Guo-Qiang’s daytime explosion event will be staged using exclusively non-toxic, reduced-smoke, CE-certified pyrotechnic products.