Johnny Walking Man

Fondation Giacometti -  Johnny Walking Man

The Morning After
A play (extract)

Featuring
Annette Messager as The Smoker
Douglas Gordon as The Artist
Christian Alandete as The Curator
 
 
The Smoker
Do you know the story with Beckett?
 
The Curator (coming back into the room)
Come on Annette don’t tell this story again. (Talking to the Artist) She forced me to put it in her catalogue.
 
The Smoker
They were very friends. And they were drinking and drinking in Montparnasse together. And, of course, Samuel Beckett wanted to drink Irish whiskey. And Giacometti wanted to drink Johnny Walker.
 
The Artist (laughing)
That's Scottish whiskey.
 
The Smoker
And Beckett said – that’s horrible! But Giacometti said - you know what? That's what I want to do. L’homme qui marche! et voilà! C’est comme ça qu’il a fait l’homme qui marche.
 
The Artist
Yeah? No! Fantastic!
 
The Curator
No, it’s a nice story but it’s unlikely to be true!
 
The Artist (smiling)
Did he get sponsorship?
 
The Smoker
Incroyable non!
 
The Artist (to the Curator)
Yeah. You know I never thought to show you this in my studio. I have a wooden Johnny Walker.
 
The Artist
I would love to get Martina to go and photograph it now. It was a present from Ealan Wingate.
 
The Smoker
Oh yes. I know him.
 
The Artist
So in my old days, I used to drink. Now...
 
The Smoker
You don't drink anymore?
 
The Artist (blinking)
No.
 
The Smoker
Oh! C’est pas drôle hein?
 
The Artist
No drinking or smoking. So, when I used to drink a lot of whiskey, Ealan bought me this beautiful, wooden, Johnny Walker. (Showing the size with his arms) Like this. Because, normally, he has a stick. But I lost the stick. He got no stick. So, he's a little bit like that. Really. It looks like a guy walking.
 
The Smoker
And now, it is in Berlin?
 
The Artist
Yes it’s in my studio. I put it in a window.
 
The Smoker
You should put it in the show.

The Artist
Yes that’s a great idea!
 
The Curator
I’m not sure! Please don’t!
 
The Artist
I know right? I'm calling Martina, to ask her to go and photograph Johnny Walker, right now.
(On the phone with Martina): Marti, I bumped into Annette Messager who told me this fantastic story. Samuel Beckett used to drink Irish whiskey, not Jameson's. Giacometti drunk Johnny Walker. Apparently, this is where the Walking Man comes from. So, I was wondering Marti - I know it's a busy day - could you walk downstairs and take photographs of my Johnny Walker? You know what I’m talking about? Thank you, Marti. (He hangs up his phone.)
That's a fantastic story. If you look at Johnny Walker now, he's walking in the opposite direction of where he walked two centuries ago. Because he got (went?) 180 degree. So, in my memory, (imitating the Walking Man) he's walking that way.
 
The Smoker
Oui.
 
The Artist
But when Johnny Walker tried to sell the whiskey in Japan this direction was considered negative.
 
The Smoker
Oh yeah?
 
The Artist
(changing direction) That's positive. So they chose this direction. Yeah?
 
The Smoker
Incredible.
 
The Artist
It's totally insane! Right?
 
The Smoker
Oui c’est ça donc là c’est dans le sens de la marche.
But you can interchange them?
 
The Artist
Yeah, but then you see the backside. (thinking) Hmm I’m gonna do something with it.

 

Articles
01 May 2020

Le corbeau #2

Paris, Friday May 1, 2020
From 24 Apr To 24 May 2020

Le corbeau #1

Berlin, Friday April 24th, 2020.
To search for a work, consult the Alberto Giacometti Database