CAI GUO-QIANG PERFORMS A DAYTIME FIREWORKS EVENT
A fireworks display by internationally renowned Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang livestreamed from Cognac, France to audiences worldwide to honor universal values of hope, persistence and optimism.
"This will be the first time that I direct and narrate my daytime fireworks to be live streamed to a global audience… I hope the audience will draw inspiration from the fireworks in order to reconcile with nature and to find the power to heal."
Inspired by Hennessy’s rich history, Cai composed an ephemeral art masterpiece, which will be unveiled internationally via livestream, a first for both, the artist and the Maison. For Cai, this project represents a first-ever daytime spectacle designed for an aquatic environment and a global, real-time audience. Conceived like a play in three acts, it promises to explode with drama, poetry, color and emotion, with multi-colored fireworks launched from oak barrels floating on the Charente River. While this major artistic happening pyrothechnic event coincides with Hennessy X.O’s anniversary year, it also opens a new chapter in the iconic blend’s history.
CAI GUO-QIANG LIVE EVENT IN COGNAC, FRANCE
Cai Guo-Qiang daytime fireworks in Cognac, France
Cai Guo-Qiang daytime fireworks in Cognac, France
Cai Guo-Qiang in Cognac, France
ABOUT THE ARTIST
An explosive artist
The recipient of numerous international art awards, including the Medal of Arts from the State Department (Washington DC), the 24th Praemium Impériale 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. This event in partnership with the Maison Hennessy marks his first collaboration with a luxury brand.
Drawing upon Eastern philosophy and contemporary social issues as a conceptual basis, his artworks respond to culture and history and establish an exchange between viewers and the larger universe around them. His explosion art and installations are imbued with a force that transcends the two-dimensional plane to engage with society and nature.
Sky is the limit
In June 2015, Cai created the explosion event Sky Ladder in his hometown Quanzhou. The artwork became the centerpiece of the Netflix documentary Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang, directed by Academy Award winner Kevin Macdonald. Fireflies, his largest public art project in the United States in the past decade, launched in Philadelphia in September 2017.
The daytime fireworks event is the centerpiece of Hennessy X.O’s 150th anniversary World Odyssey program and will be shared globally via livestream—a first for both Cai Guo-Qiang and the Maison. During this time of global transformation and togetherness, these two friends and creative masterminds express their dual vision for a hopeful future as they respond to and amplify Hennessy Maison’s universal values of joy, optimism, and resilience.
"Because of the pandemic, our goal and responsibility quickly changed, and Hennessy has been very encouraging of me to shape the theme in order to honor persistence and optimism in the human spirit." "The daytime fireworks bloom and vanish in nature; the Charente river reflecting the fireworks seems like the endless flow of life. The cosmology expressed in Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy views the world as a cycle of construction and destruction. And for me, the odyssey and homecoming of life alike are the wheel of nature."
Cai Guo-Qiang’s daytime fireworks event will be staged using exclusively non-toxic, reduced-smoke, CE-certified pyrotechnic products. The artist and Hennessy are engaged that all aspect of the event are respectful of the environment.
In 1870, Maurice Hennessy created Hennessy X.O for his circle of friends and introduced a new style of cognac. Hennessy X.O is the Original, the emblematic icon of the Hennessy Maison.
Deep and powerful, the eaux-de-vie of this Hennessy X.O cognac are aged in young barrels and marked out by their power and energy, but also by their capacity to achieve a great roundness through time.
Our Tasting Committee has explored every facet of the blend and identified several emotions that were assimilated to an Odyssey through 7 chapters:
- Sweet Notes: The palate is warmly embraced by flavors of candied fruit.
- Rising Heat: The intriguing sensation of an intense, rising heat slowly reveals the complex taste of eaux-de-vie patiently aged in oak barrels.
- Spicy Edge: Perception of a strong spicy cognac note, tantalising the lips and palate with its distinct peppery flavor intertwined with a hint of chocolate.
- Flowing Flame: A wave of warmth grows, crests and then breaks. A robust presence, full and voluptuous, is felt.
- Chocolate Lull: There is the gradual discovery of something very familiar. It is the well-rounded flavor of a rich, dark chocolate.
- Wood Crunches: A striking sensation is suddenly felt – the vigorous ebb and flow of oak notes interlaced with vanilla.
- Infinite Echo: The evanescent oak notes leave a long, omnipresent finish in their wake. Seemingly endless, it echoes all of the subtleties of each taste and sensation that has preceded it.
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