Hennessy's "A World Odyssey" Presents A Daytime Explosion Event by Artist Cai Guo-Qiang


2020/9/16 16:32

AsiaNet 85564


PARIS, Sept. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire=KYODO JBN/--



-- Livestreamed from Cognac to audiences worldwide, the artist's The Birth of

Tragedy honors the universal values of resilience, courage and hope


Cai Guo-Qiang is one of the most admired artists on the contemporary art scene.

In addition to his largescale, site-specific installations, Cai is particularly

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 fall, Hennessy invites Cai Guo-Qiang to

create a daytime explosion event to be held on the Charente in Cognac, France,

on Friday, September 25th at 3 PM CET.


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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. Like a theatrical performance, this artistic odyssey promises to

explode with drama, poetry, color and emotion, with multicolored fireworks

launched 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. 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



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."


The event is yet another instant of the energy, persistence and hope

demonstrated by Maison Hennessy this year in an effort to support its

communities in Cognac and internationally. "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.


Cai Guo-Qiang's daytime explosion event will be staged using exclusively

non-toxic, reduced-smoke, CE-certified pyrotechnic products.


To learn more and view the livestream, visit





The recipient of numerous international art awards, including the Medal of Arts

from the State Department (Washington DC), the 24th Praemium Imperiale Lifetime

Achievement in the Arts (Tokyo), and the Fondation Cartier award (Paris), Cai

served as the Director of Visual and Special Effects for the 2008 Beijing

Olympic Games, for which he staged remarkable opening and closing ceremony

events. A native of Quanzhou, China, Cai currently lives and works in New York.

His personal story, inspirations and projects are the subject of the acclaimed

Netflix documentary Sky Ladder (2016) by Academy Award-winning director Kevin

Macdonald.  This event in partnership with the Maison Hennessy marks his first

collaboration with a luxury brand.



In 1870, Maurice Hennessy, a 4th-generation member of the Hennessy family,

asked the Cellar Master Emile Fillioux to create a special cognac for his

family and friends, using long-aged eaux-de-vie to perfect the blend. They

called it "X.O" for "Extra Old". Hennessy X.O became the first House blend to

attain international renown, to the point that the X.O classification became a

gauge of uncompromising quality. In 1947, Gerald de Geoffre - Maurice

Hennessy's great-grandson - created its iconic carafe, a shape inspired by an

upturned cluster of grapes. Today, Hennessy X.O remains as true as it was when

Maurice Hennessy first shared it with his inner circle. A timeless symbol with

a powerful and balanced structure, it carries the promise of an extremely long

finish: each drop an invitation to embark on an odyssey of the senses through

seven tasting notes.


In 2020, Hennessy X.O marks its 150th birthday with a masterpiece by Cai




The leader in Cognac, the Maison Hennessy has shined around the world with its

exceptional know-how for more than 250 years. Built on founder Richard

Hennessy's spirit of conquest, the brand is present in more than 160 countries.

Based in the heart of the Charente region, Hennessy is also a steadfast pillar

of the regional economy. The Maison's success and longevity are rooted in the

excellence of its cognacs, each of which is born of a unique process of

transmission of know-how from generation to generation. The first spirits house

to be certified ISO 14001, Hennessy unites its capacity for innovation and the

support of all of its partners to protect this exceptional area. As a crown

jewel of the LVMH Group, Hennessy is a major contributor to French

international trade, with 99% of production sold in export, and a worldwide

ambassador for the French art de vivre.


Media contact

Will Davis





SOURCE: Hennessy