Thursday, 23 March 2017



Croatia Artists' "Broken Relationships" Exhibit to Be Displayed in Zagreb



Text by Natasa Radic for Southeast European Times*   
The exhibition "The Museum of Broken Relationships," initiated by two Croatian artists and showcasing people's remnants of their past relationships, quickly became a global attraction. It is now looking for a permanent home in Zagreb.

Is there a person whose heart has not been broken at least once? Unrequited love is a universal condition connecting humans regardless of race, nationality, religion or culture.

Exploring this theme is a fascinating project by two Croatian artists -- Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic.

Their concept was featured around the world in an exhibit that struck a chord with all who saw it. Thousands of mementos of broken relationships are now on exhibit in the installation piece, with more added daily.

Said Vistica, "We wanted to make a creation, not a destruction, of broken relationships."

Audiences who have viewed the exhibition in each city it has appeared -- a dozen countries since 2006 in four continents -- have contributed items ex-lovers once gave them. Though many are typical, some are extraordinary.

A Macedonian girl cut off her hair when a boyfriend broke up with her. The hair is on display along with a war veteran's leg prosthesis that he gave to a doctor with whom he fell in love.

"I donated a number of toys and books that my former boyfriend gave me for our anniversaries in the years we spent together. I also donated some love letters I could not keep anymore," said Snjezana, 32, an anonymous donor to the first exhibition in 2006.

"I did not want to destroy these things, but I did not want to have them nearby either," Snjezana continued. "So this was a good solution. I gave it all away when the exhibition started here in Zagreb and I felt good. I made a closure on a relationship that caused me much emotional pain."

At the moment, "The Museum of Broken Relationships" is on display in Istanbul. Previously it has been in Croatia, Serbia, Slovakia, Singapore, the US, Ireland, and South Africa.

The exhibition will likely go on permanent exhibit in Zagreb once a suitable home is found for it. And though the names of those who gave away their belongings to the "Museum" are not given, there is a brief summary of each failed relationship next to the object on display.

Sasa, 43, from Zagreb, said he thought he would never get over the girl who broke his heart, the one whose gifts are now on display in the "Museum".

"But I did," he said. "And now I am happily married. I would not like my wife to know that I once wept over a relationship that was not meant to be."

*This text is courtesy of the Southeast European Times (SET), a web site sponsored by the US Department of Defense in support of UN Resolution 1244, designed to provide an international audience with a portal to a broad range of information about Southeastern Europe. It highlights movement toward greater regional stability and steps governments take toward integration into European institutions. SET also focuses on developments that hinder both terrorist activity and support for terrorism in the region.

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