Cai Guo-Qiang was commissioned to create One Night Stand (Aventure d’un Soir), a conceptual pyrotechnic “explosion event” for Nuit Blanche, an all-night citywide contemporary art event organized by the City of Paris and was curated by Chiara Parisi and Julie Pellegrin this year. The unprecedented happening took place on the evening of October 5th; through this work, the artist invited Paris to have “une aventure d’un soir” both on the Seine — eternal witness of the romantic history of France — and in front of the Louvre and Musée d’Orsay, which house respectively Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (La Joconde) and Édouard Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe.
One Night Stand presented an adventure into the night to change people’s perception of the city; the explosion event mixed together imaginations, passions, and ambiance unique to Paris and shared the experience with a large audience. The happening was divided into three scenes: the first scene was a heated pyrotechnic display that lasted twelve minutes. During this enchanting scene, fireworks expressed love and its metaphorical eruptions. In the second scene, a sightseeing boat (bateau-mouche) outfitted with fifty tents brought one hundred lovers from around the world to spend a luminous and romantic evening on the Seine. If they wished to share their blissful experience with other spectators, they would press a button next to them to trigger short sprouts of fireworks, which were fired from small boats nearby. For the third and last scene, close to one minute of elegant blazing silver fireworks acted as a tacit ”goodbye kiss.” For the finale, fireworks that spelled out the words ”Sorry Gotta Go” appeared. That evening, audiences from all over the world were able to observe this “One Night Stand” between Paris—the city of love—and the rest of the world.