In 1966, Robert F. Kennedy quoted the curse 'May you live in interesting times,' explaining he and his contemporaries did just that. We'd argue that times are always interesting, but, to mangle the Anna Karenina Principle, every time is interesting in its own way. Without diminishing the world's troubles, we guide you here towards that which is uplifting. Consider the stunning retrospective of Louise Bourgeois' (1911-2010) work at the National Gallery of Iceland, an exhibition of twenty-eight refined pieces including the spider sculpture Maman. In Melbourne, the NGV show Vienna: Art & Design also leans towards beautiful provocation. Equally lyrical is Wim Wender's Pina, a film made for celebrated German choreographer Pina Bausch. Keen readers should attend Jonathan Franzen's one-night-only talk at the Sydney Writers Festival, then follow this by perusing Christopher Turner's Adventures in the Orgasmatron: How the Sexual Revolution Came to America, a biography of controversial psychiatrist Wilhelm Reich. For an altogether different form of creativity, visit Dries Van Noten men's store in Paris, which has the most distinctive retail interior, alongside Aesop's of course. Interesting times call for interesting measures.
Transparent Things (1972) by Vladimir Nabokov. If ever there was an author who polarised readers, Nabokov is the one. We have no wish to weigh into the debate, but we would suggest that if a book is judged on its merit as a standalone object, separate from the chatter that circles the author, the melancholic novella Transparent Things makes the grade. The narrator walks us through four trips to a village in Switzerland, each one forming part of a tale saturated in skilfully articulated nostalgia, regret and uncomfortable attraction.
The latest production of Macbeth at The Royal Shakespeare Company's newly rebuilt theatre. The story is, as we all know, one of ambition, bloody murder and human baseness (tempered with a gruesome recipe featuring newts), so enjoy may not be the right word. However, there is pleasure to be had from watching talented actors, and from all accounts Jonathan Slinger is a terrifying Macbeth, and the desperation and horror he evinces is utterly convincing. Aislin Mcguckin (Lady Macbeth) and Aidan Kelly (Macduff) are also receiving plaudits, though we remain perplexed by the decision to cast children as the wicked witches.
Fresh produce prepared with ingenuity at Magnus Nilsson's restaurant Fäviken in northern Sweden. Nilsson sources ingredients harvested from the surrounding area and estate – Fäviken has been a farm since the late 1800s – including wild vegetables and herbs, and fish caught on single lines. The set menu is built around seasonal produce, but Fäviken promises, rather intriguingly: 'if you visit us regularly, you have more influence over your evening.' Given the calibre of the chef we're not convinced we want any such control. Fäviken is considered serious competition for Copenhagen's Noma so book well in advance. Consider making it a Nordic triad and add Mathias Dahlgren in Stockholm to your wish list of delicious dining. Should you choose to stay overnight, there is accommodation at both Mathias Dahlgren and Fäviken.
Domus Architecture Guides. There are many smartphone apps that guide us through the world's great cities and enlighten us as to their finest attributes, but the Domus interpretations are pleasing to the eye and mind, offering accurate information about buildings and architects as well as suggested itineraries, including a walking route of the 1920s for Shanghai, Unorthodox Modern for New York, and New Life in the East End for London. Plus they draw upon the expertise of a magazine we admire for its consistently high standard of theoretical writing and photography.
Aesop's inspired Petitgrain Hydrating Body Gel, which provides light hydration to soothe and cool the skin throughout the warmer months. Petitgrain Hydrating Body Gel absorbs quickly, and assists skin suffering from sun exposure, waxing or shaving. Enhanced with Witch Hazel, Grapefruit and Lemon Peel oils it offers a crisp citrus scent, and is the ideal way to relieve and calm the skin. Petitgrain Hydrating Body Gel – our first body gel - is available in Australia and New Zealand from September.
The Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), renowned for its support not only of visual artists but also dance, theatre and experimental projects. We enjoy the light and expansive exhibition spaces within this heritage-listed building. We're also impressed with their Spark_lab program that offers students and teachers the chance to be involved with artists, musicians and dancers in the hope of inspiring the next generation's innovative creations. Everyone benefits from that. While in Perth, be sure to stock up on your favourite Aesop products at our Claremont store, our small contribution to the cityscape.
A bottle of Tramonti Bianco Per Eva 2009 – Tenuta San Francesco. Wine may not be life-changing but it is undeniably life-enhancing, and this is one of the most impressive whites we've sampled this year. If possible, drink it now in the general vicinity of Naples or while watching your favourite Italian Neo Realist films wherever you may be. Enjoy while eating something fresh and line-caught from the sea.
'All I can say to the kids is if you've a problem in fishing or life, if you talk to an older person, you're gonna end up alright, because nine times out of ten, they've been through the same thing.' Rex Hunt
Image supplied courtesy of Sruli Recht
When Gravity Fails, FW2011
Photographer: Marinó Thorlacius
Model: Emil Þór Guðmundsson
Stylist: Arash Arfazadeh
For more information, visit Sruli Recht