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What do a collection of Proust novels and a pair of furry pink handcuffs have in common? They're both cast-offs from failed relationships, objects that embody memories of an aborted romance. And starting today they're on display at The Museum of Broken Relationships at the Tristan Bates Theatre in London, along with about 100 other artifacts paying homage to love affairs cut short.
The project started in Croatia in 2006 and still maintains a permanent home in Zagreb, but founders Olinka Vištica and Drazen Grubiši have brought the museum around the world, from Berlin to Istanbul, from South Africa to the Philippines. In the U.S., the museum has visited San Francisco, Houston, St. Louis, and Bloomington, Indiana. The traveling exhibits mix objects from the museum's permanent collection with donations from locals. Submissions are always anonymous, but captions list the relationship's length, date, and location.
The museum's website suggests donating artifacts as a form of creative self-help. "Our societies oblige us with our marriages, funerals, and even graduation farewells, but deny us any formal recognition of the demise of a relationship, despite its strong emotional effect," the founders write.
One Londoner has taken up the call to participate by donating a rather large gift from an ex: a piano. As singer Lila La Scala, 29, told the London Evening Standard,"It was given to me in 2005 by someone I had a rather short affair with, which was punctuated with large consumption of champagne and shopping. I wouldn't consider it a relationship, it lasted about two and a half months, and when it ended he gave me a piano."
Did you recently get dumped? If so, you can donate your old teddy bear to the museum here.
2005. Zagreb, Croatia
"Divorce Day Mad Dwarf"
20 years. Ljubljana, Slovenia
"An Ex Ave"
1995. Berlin, Germany
2003 – 2005. Zagreb, Croatia