- The Museum of Broken Relationships is a collection of lovers’ mementos
- All were donated and come with notes explaining their significance
- Museum set up by Croatian ex-lovers Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić
- Among the more bizarre exhibits are dreadlocks and an old garden gnome
- Travelling exhibition will open on 28th June at the Southbank Centre
05:57 EST, 25 June 2014
07:01 EST, 25 June 2014
Emotional letters, loving photographs torn in half and a battered sleeping bag from Slovenia: these are just some of the personal mementos on display in a quirky new exhibition opening in London this week.
Part of a collection that belongs to Croatia’s Museum of Broken Relationships, pieces have been donated by heartbroken lovers from all over the world and include dreadlock snippings and an animated film among many others.
Set up by artists Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić in 2006 following their own break-up, the point of all the detritus, say the artists, is to document the impact of letting go of love and the flotsam that remains behind.
Bizarre: This battered garden gnome is among the exhibits donated to the Museum of Broken Relationships
Now part of the collection is set to go on display at the Southbank Centre in London, with 60 items that once meant something to lovers included in the exhibition.
Many are classic lovers’ gifts such as teddy bears bearing the message, ‘I Love You’, or wedding dresses donated following a divorce.
Other pieces are considerably more bizarre, with everything from pairs of luridly patterned pants to cracked garden gnomes and even an axe among the possessions donated to the museum.
Luckily for those baffled by the stranger items donated to Vištica and Grubišić, each is displayed next to a note from its former owner.
Many are amusing, in particular one written by the Bosnian former owner of a set of garters, who notes: ‘I never put them on. The relationship might have lasted longer if I had.’
Unusual: Among the stranger exhibits are a bundle of clipped off dreadlocks (left) and an axe (right)
Nice pants! One donor even sent Vištica and Grubišić a set of her former love’s novelty underwear
Quirky: Although the museum is based in Croatia, a selection of 60 items are to be displayed in London
Others are angry, with one note telling of a man’s disgust after discovering that his girlfriend still slept with her ex – whose ‘boyfriend hat’ she regularly wore and is now in the Museum of Broken Relationships.
‘She always called it that; said she liked it because it looked like a man’s hat, but it really suited her. I only found out two weeks ago that it was her boyfriend’s hat, and she was still sleeping with him.’
More come from the heart and are at times almost unbearably poignant. ‘He was a very worried boy, in constant need of reassurance,’ writes the Parisian former owner of a set of five dice.
‘His main worry was boredom. We used to play “Yamb” for hours using these dice. When I roll them in the palms of my hands, it feels like I’m holding his hands in mine.
‘Giving these dice away, nine years later, should be a way of giving my heart a new chance, making space for a new partner, new games, because it’s time.’
Conventional: Not everything is bizarre. Some items are more mainstream reminders of love gone wrong
Unusual: These mannequin hands are a reminder of a favourite possession trashed by a spurned lover
And what of the most bizarre item of all: the amputated dreadlocks? ‘These are my dreads,’ explains the Norwegian former owner in the note that accompanies them.
‘Morbid, I know. But notice the braided ends. I didn´t do that. Must have been every week for a year.
‘She even tied them together using matching sewing thread. Our nuptial knots. Ten years old, a cut-off from our lives. They belong in a museum.’
Thanks to Vištica and Grubišić, they, along with many other weird and wonderful bits of lovers’ detritus, have now found a suitable home.
The Museum of Broken Relationships opens at the London Southbank Centre on 28th June as part of the Festival of Love which runs until 31st August. For more information or to donate your own mementos to the museum, see southbankcentre.co.uk