Museum of Broken Relationships

After examining a heroin test, teddy bear and a Jamaican dollar bill at the Museum of Broken Relationships, I reopened my own dusty memorabilia of dead romances. Girlfriends come and go but their pink letters and hair clips remain locked away forever. The modern way of excommunicating a lover scorned is to delete them from Facebook. As feelings run high, many will have experienced the cathartic rush to delete all of their texts, emails and naked photos. Although years later you may regret deleting the latter.

Unable to throw anything away, I continue to hoard fragments of my broken relationships in shoe boxes. These include paper clips, feathers, wooden frogs, heart shaped mirrors and an empty bottle of Prosecco. Every failed relationship has its fair share of emotional debris. Reading some of my love letters is surprisingly painful, and after a few words I begin to feel uneasy, and fold them back up feeling nothing but regret that purple ink is all I have left.

The Museum of Broken Relationships is a touring exhibition created by ex-lovers Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić in Zagreb. Some of the donations range from surreal plastic toys, postcards, reels of films and surprisingly tender BDSM love poetry. In this macabre confession room of love lost, one of the exhibits includes a bike given to a woman by her cheating husband, who on discovering his infidelity, spent her evenings riding the high winds looking for closure. She continues to ride to this day.

One of the most illuminating exhibits came from a BDSM convert, who experienced her first ever sado-masochistic relationship with an art historian called Simon. Her love is represented in a book of nine poems, and she spoke of a man ‘….emotional, dysfunctional, demonstrative, difficult and controlling. Yet I was drawn to his tortured soul. He is intelligent, deep, dark and poetically literate. I had some truly magical sexual experiences with him and I fell for him or as he would say I was “obsessed” with him”. Alas such a temporary form of insanity now has a graveyard for where love goes to die.

Originally conceived in Zagreb, the Museum of Broken Relationships is now touring internationally, amassing stories and donations from cultures from all over the world. However, not everyone has to visit Covent Garden to appreciate the stories on display. They lie tucked away in your own draws, cupboards and inboxes. As we all have a Museum of Broken Relationships in our homes, words that have been laid to rest and star spinning memories lying soaked in dust.

Museum of Broken Relationships
Tristan Bates Theatre

Exhibition runs until September 4th 2011.

6 thoughts on “Museum of Broken Relationships

  1. What a great idea. I am now inspired to do something with my three chessmen, 2006 cinema ticket, broken paintbrush, lightbulb box with a drawing of a baby bat and Archie comic.

    1. It’s a heartbreaking and surprisingly quirky exhibition – some of the narratives behind the objects were amazing. Most of them appear to be donated by girls though, or least they had better stories to tell. I actually have two wooden frogs from two different relationships. Possibly shouldn’t keep hold of pink hair clips though.


      Enjoying reading over blog. Eclectic, diverse and very lively! Loved the Starry, Starry Night piece. Used to live very close by in Athole Gardens. I do miss it.

      1. Thank you very much, and likewise.

        Keep the pink hairclips. I’d like to think there’s a non-threatening ex someplace hanging onto whatever forgotten hair accessories I left in his flat.

        Two wooden frogs is…odd. I wonder if women are more inclined to hoard remnants of old heartbreak. I certainly am, though usually with the intention of dramatically flinging it all over a bridge or setting it on fire, but often can’t be bothered with that sort of closure when it comes down to it. Time consuming and not environmentally friendly.

  2. I don’t have the heart to throw the pink hairclips out. And I haven’t seen the girl for over ten years now. Those pink clips remain locked inside a dusty box full of letters, glitter and pink accessories. The last time I had that break up feeling of destroying everything, I deleted about 15 Facebook messages (which I now regret) and then stopped in time. Previously though, I used to just delete text messages, phone photos, emails (to my eternal regret) and that’s about it really.

    Two wooden frogs does sound weird. It’s purely co-incidental too! Always wondered whether I secretly keep hold of letters, relics of past relationships, thinking one day other people will marvel over them in a museum or something. But somehow I doubt it. I think I must be very sentimental.

  3. I make a point of deleting all nasty emails, apart from those I might have to present to a court as evidence one day. I keep all the nice ones. And text messages, though I savagely regretted that when I left my phone at work one night with some very risque texts. Fortunately this was at work in Moscow and the security guard who found the phone couldn’t speak Angliski.


  4. Haha I don’t have anything psychotic in my sent folder. That’s another thing. I once deleted several emails from a certain girl, only to discover I had forgotten about the one’s I had sent. Emotions that cannot be erased. I once kept a collage of a girl’s texts and made it into a private blog entry. Scattered her words onto one page. Some of them were extremely sexy. Sadly I removed all of her photos though. Probably for the best. As long-term, someone you don’t want to know anything about your past, will eventually see or read them.

    Glitter? Oh my first girlfriend used to lash her letters with glitter. So the box is covered in it. I only opened it up when I was writing this blog and I found myself covered in it. Such fading glamour assisted me greatly on getting this written up.

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