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.