The Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum of Broken Relationships prosthetic limb 1992

An under-knee prosthetic limb, Croatia, 1992. “In a Zagreb hospital I met a beautiful, young and ambitious social worker from the Ministry of Defense. When she helped me to get certain materials, which I, as a war invalid, needed for my under-knee prosthesis, the love was born. The prosthesis endured longer than our love. It was made of better material!”

Museum of Broken Relationships broken dwarf

Divorce day dwarf, Slovenia. “… He arrived in a new car. Arrogant, shallow and heartless. The dwarf was closing the gate that he had destroyed himself some time ago. At that moment it flew over to the windscreen of the new car, rebounded and landed on the asphalt surface. It was a long loop, drawing an arc of time – and this short long arc defined the end of love.”

Museum of Broken Relationships cell phone

Cell phone, Croatia, 2003-2004. “It was 300 days too long. He gave me his cell phone so I couldn’t call him any more.”

Museum of Broken Relationships glass horse

Glass horse, Slovenia, 1982-1997. “He said: Darling, I love you. I’ll never stop loving you. You are my life. I answered: Me too, dear. When we entered the room, I opened my gift and saw the little glass horse. 20 years later, I am divorced. His love disappeared like the wind.”

Museum of Broken Relationships bowl

A “Mira Furlan” bowl, Slovenia, 2003-2005. “You wanted me to bake bread. Because a woman kneading dough is so erotic, isn’t she? You probably thought I’d work up such a sweat that it would drip from my breasts directly into the bowl. One summer day I dressed up only in an apron, just for you and the bowl…”

A monument to broken hearts and lost loves, the clever Museum of Broken Relationships features objects related to former romantic relationships, anonymously donated by broken-hearted people all over the world. The museum was originally conceived by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić as a travelling exhibition, and now has a permanent home in Zagreb, Croatia. Featuring diverse love tokens such as teddy bears, wedding dresses, underwear, and even an axe, the collection becomes a (slightly funny) physical manifestation of the heartache, nostalgia and anger experienced during the demise of a relationship.

Museum of Broken Relationships installation

Museum of Broken Relationships, installation shot

Museum of Broken Relationships installation

Museum of Broken Relationships, installation shot

It’s obvious why audiences would be interested in looking at these things: each object and its accompanying description offers a juicy little glimpse into someone’s personal life. But why donate these objects in the first place? Why offer up a slice of your most painful memories and failed love stories for strangers to gawk at? Maybe it is a ritualistic purging, or a sort of celebration of the universality of heartbreak. But I think people have given objects to the museum because it provides a place to share a part of their past they don’t want to forget, but find too painful to remember.

What item would you put in the Museum of Broken Relationships? I couldn’t think of any specific physical things I’ve kept from old flames, but there are certain songs I still can’t bear to listen to because they are so strongly associated with a person from the past. A recording of “Up The Junction” by Squeeze would probably have to be my museum contribution…

Museum of Broken Relationships prayer flags

Tibetan prayer flags, Istanbul, 2011. “A beautiful love story that started on the first lunar eclipse of 2011 yet could not last until the second one that came only 6 months thereafter. Many objects could depict this tiny but wonderful love story. But the best one would be his Tibetan Prayer Flags he had given to her on her birthday, in Istanbul. All her prayers flew in the air but were left unanswered…”

Museum of Broken Relationships box matchstick album

Box made of matches, Slovenia, 1973-2000. “A box – Jelka, Vlado, November 15, 1975. Vlado made it after the wedding, when he was in the army. After 18 years of marriage he left me for another woman; we officially divorced after our 25th wedding anniversary…”

Museum of Broken Relationships pink fur handcuffs

Furry handcuffs, Croatia, 2005. “Atam me…”

// Images from the Museum of Broken Relationships, and other places (click on images to go to individual sources).

Elsewhere on the Museum of Ridiculously Interesting Things:

Photographs of wild animals and ad for Dentyne gum.

11 thoughts on “The Museum of Broken Relationships

  1. グッチを提示、男の袋に秋のシーズンこのような色均等にミリタリーグリーンおり、結果として古典的なトーンこれらのシャンブレーとして。さらにする色、デザイナー実証色合いの変化と茶色とを使用してコースクラシックデニム。捏造にの前の秋ひよこバッグだったダチョウ、ワニと滑らかな革。すべて女性バッグ質問なしです示されているすぐ再び単一トップハンドルプラスダブルトップ実施スタイル。、取り外し可能なショルダーリングも定期的なに、女性バッグを追加を汎用性で行うことハンドバッグに、全体。とに長いから理想的になりますストラップ傾向適切な取り外し可能なストラップに沿って女性バッグキーに汎用性を可能がハンドバッグ。

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