The Museum of Broken Relationships: Heart Break in 12 Objects

It seems like as soon as one temporary pop-up museum closes, another one opens. This summer the Museum of Broken Relationships is back in London and I am very excited about this. I first stumbled across the pop-up museum of heart-break a few years ago, when it was in a tucked away corner of Covent Garden, but now it’s back as part of Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love.

The Museum of Broken Relationships

The Museum of Broken Relationships

Museum of Broken Relationships was started by two Czech artists: Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic as a way to overcome the grief and sadness of a relationship without “destructive self-help books.” They claim that donating to the museum “offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation”.

The concept of a museum collection that explores heartbreak is such an intriguing one and it seems that people officially agree as it won the Kenneth Hudson award for Most Innovative Museum in Europe. It’s collection is so varied, connected only by the theme of heart-break that its central site in Zagreb regularly makes it only lists of Weirdest Museums Ever.

Which reminds me, I should really write one of those…

No pain more exquisite nor more everyday than that of heart-break. The objects here show the myriad of ways that people have had their hearts broken- infidelity, lies, general jack-ass-ery.

A warning now – a couple of these are are on the border of Not Entirely Safe to view in a Work situation…

A brazillian bank note

A brazillian bank note

“He gave me his email written on a brazillian bank note,” says this contributor “He was just trying to seem cool.” Did this relationship end well? “We got married. He look a lot of my bank notes. And a lot more.”

A painting

A painting

Tilt your head to look at this. Can you see it now? Hence the warning.

“Since I can’t donate this virus” runs the label attached to this piece, “I’m giving it to you in this painting.”

A wedding ring

A wedding ring

This relationship was a long one. Now, instead of representing a loving relationship, this ring stands for something else : “A family torn apart by an adulterous affair, brought to their knees by debt and paralysed by chronic illness.”

A toy bus

A toy bus

“I didn’t know at the time” ran the label “but I was the one to blame for our break-up.” A story I was not expecting from such a child-like object. It was unusual to hear from the one to blame instead of the victim.

A pair of brown brogues

A pair of brown brogues

In a story that could have been written by Carrie Bradshaw herself , these were “The most expensive and beautiful pair of shoes I have ever owned. Unfortunately, like the relationship, they began to fall apart.”

A pair of brogues as a metaphor for a relationship? Sex and the City has a lot to answer for.

A hand made wedding dress

A hand made wedding dress

This could have gone one of two ways; luckily there isn’t a real life Miss Havisham out there. The Museum of Broken Relationship has saved someone from that fate. “It arrived from the dressmaker a day after he had said he was ‘giving up on us.” I’m not sure if this is better or worse than being jilted?

Dice

Dice

Love is a game. I think a song said that once. Well, this addition to the museum proves it to be true. “When I roll them in the palms of my hand, it feels like I’m holding his hands in mine.”

A plush penis (with piercings)

A plush penis (with piercings)

Sorry about this one, but I couldn’t leave it out. “I had this plush penis custom-made to represent him” reads the label. Apparently it was an accurate representation: “[the piercings] felt quite unpleasant. He never thought of my feelings, only his.”

'Hers' towel

‘Hers’ towel

You can probably guess what happened to this towel’s “His” counterpart.

I

I ❤ U

Have you ever wondered what a lot of tiny hearts would look like if they were drawn on a large piece of canvass? wonder no more. “I wrote ‘I ❤ U’ thousands of time on a canvass but it was not enough to keep us together.”

A comic book

A comic book

“He liked comic books. Zagor was one of them” As Bonnie Tyler sang, I’m holding out for a hero. Bonnie, we all are. But, we have to be careful about picking our heroes. “He was never my superhero anyway, I know that now.” I’m still not clear if the donator is talking about Zagor or their ex…

A Clanger and handcuffs

A Clanger and handcuffs

Nothing says “heartache” like a clanger and broken handcuffs, right? OK maybe not “heartache” but it does seem like the kind of flotsam and jetsam that’s left behind after a relationship has run its course…

If you want to donate to the exhibit, you can find out how over here. If you fancy popping along to the Museum of Broken Relationships and find yourself in London – it’s at the Southbank Centre until 31st August.

(By the way, if you liked this post, you might like this object-based-list too)

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