Hennessy celebrates 150th anniversary of Hennessy X.O. with “A World Odyssey”, an explosive performance on the Charente River by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang

On September 25 Hennessy presented “A World Odyssey”, an explosive performance by Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang. Livestreamed from Cognac on Hennessy’s digital channels (Hennessy.com, WeChat, Tencent, Facebook, YouTube), the colorful event honored the universal values of resilience, courage and hope.


One of the most admired artists on today’s contemporary art scene, Cai Guo-Qiang is especially renowned for his unique use of gunpowder and fireworks as an artistic medium to stage spectacular events, including a memorable display for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Hennessy invited the artist to Cognac on September 25 to create an explosive daytime performance on the Charente River.

Amid the context of the current pandemic, this colorful fireworks display was designed as an uplifting message of hope. 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, the multicolored fireworks display was launched from 150 oak barrels flowing on the Charente river in echo of the 150th anniversary of Hennessy X.O.

“On behalf of 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,” said Hennessy President and CEO Laurent Boillot.

The event is yet another instance of the energy, perseverance and hope manifested by Hennessy this year to support communities in Cognac and around the world. It carries a dual message of consolation to those affected by the pandemic and of confidence in the future.

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