Friday 28 April 2017

Failed relationships fuel exhibit

A pair of handcuffs from the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
A pair of handcuffs from the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

What becomes of a garden gnome hurled in fury at a car during a stormy break-up? A teddy bear that was once a Valentine's Day present? A wedding dress from a marriage gone awry? An axe that smashed through household furniture?

All are on display at the Museum of Broken Relationships in the Croatian capital Zagreb, each with written testimonies telling tales of passion, romance and heartbreak. On Valentine's Day, the museum sees its visits almost double.

"The objects that are here represent all the stages of a break-up ... and how people go through love," said Drazen Grubisic, a designer and artist who co-founded the museum in 2010. "We might say it's a love museum, just upside down."

The mementoes - collected from all over the world - are random and varied, ranging from fake rubber breasts to a cast from a broken leg. Each item comes with dates and locations of the relationships, and notes by their anonymous donors.

Some are funny. The note next to a garter belt says: "I never put them on. The relationship might have lasted longer if I had."

Some are bitter. The garden gnome flew over a car driven by a husband who had become "arrogant and heartless". It bounced on the asphalt, shattering its face.

"It was a long loop, drawing an arc of time ... that defined the end of love," the note from Slovenia said.

The museum, opposite Zagreb's City Hall where couples get married, currently displays some 100 "relics" out of about 1,000 that have been collected from around the world.

A prosthetic leg currently showcased at the National Centre for Craft and Design in Sleaford, Lincs, was donated by a war veteran who fell in love with his physiotherapist.

The museum itself is the brainchild of a break-up. When Mr Grubisic and co-founder Olinka Vistica, a film-maker, split up, they got stuck when it came to dividing their sentimental memorabilia. They did not want to just get rid of it, so they created a museum.

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