Monday, June 20, 2011

a boulevard of broken dreams

A fan who frequently summers in Southern Europe told us of a museum she visited this week that inspires us to cheat our landlord and buy that trans-Atlantic-ticket-to-ride and see it for ourselves.

The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia offers a sumptuous buffet of objects representing the emotional debris that remains after the loved, the lover, or the love is gone.  Everyday items, each with its own story of a failed relationship become powerful symbols of affection, cruelty, longing, and emancipation.

While artful, this is no artistic creation.  Each piece on display was donated to the museum by victims and perpetrators of breakups, some of whom seem motivated by the need for solace, while others seem bent on seeking recognition, or revenge.  A hatchet lies on a table, hinting darkly at a violent and vengeful breakup.  A Teddy-Bear with a heart that says, "I Love You" recalls a tender moment passed and forever lost.  Some delightfully tacky pink and furry handcuffs reveal a couple's adventurous romps in the bedroom before things went sour.
Founders Olinka Vištica and Drazen Grubišić

The museum's curators believe that relinquishing these items, knowing that they will be on display, is therapeutic for the survivors of a broken relationship.  From the museum's website:
"Unlike ‘destructive’ self-help instructions for recovery from failed loves, the Museum offers a chance to overcome an emotional collapse through creation: by contributing to the Museum's collection."
Paying homage to a messy end is one way the Museum of Broken Relationships seeks to help clean things up and provide a balancing capstone experience to the celebrations that often marked its beginning:
"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."
Like moths to the bug zapper, we are drawn to any celebration of the bleak inevitability that all relationships we create with each other are but temporary liaisons; doomed to end one day through betrayal, resignation, or death.  We can't wait to stroll along this boulevard of broken dreams someday and sort through the museum's discarded artifacts from relationships that faded away, spun out of control, or just hit the rocks.  Perhaps we will mumble, "There, in spite of the grace of God, go we..."

The collection travels internationally, combining permanent traveling pieces with local objects drawn from the exhibiting community.

Zagreb not on your itinerary?  The traveling collection hits Houston, London, and Buenos Aires in the coming months.

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