“Have you ever had a broken heart? Do you own an object that won’t let you forget? Become a part of global emotional history!”
So reads the mission statement for The Museum of Broken Relationships, Olinka Vištica and DraÅ¾en GrubišiÄ‡’s collaborative art project that is equal parts cultural history and emotional landfill. This collection of donated objects from failed relationships — from engagement rings to Polaroids to dirty underwear — speaks to the nature of love, loss, baggage and attachment on a global scale. As their Kickstarter page states, “Whatever the motivation for donating personal belongings — be it sheer exhibitionism, therapeutic relief, or simple curiosity — people have embraced the idea of exhibiting their love legacy as a sort of a ritual, a solemn ceremony. 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.“
In a recent interview with the Kickstarter Blog, the founders of the project shared some interesting trends they’ve observed in the course of their research:
“Each new exhibition reveals something new and valuable about the influence of cultural and historical contexts. We were not surprised when the technologically advanced society in Singapore spoke about their break-ups through a multitude of digital gadgets: MP3 players, digital cameras, etc. A teddy bear from the same city told us a story of a teenage love between a Chinese girl and a Malay boy which was not approved by family and society. Numerous exhibits from Manila as banal as a daily newspaper, a film poster, or an hourglass witnessed how immigration for economic reasons to the US or Canada can break love, even wedding vows. In San Francisco a small deer made of bamboo told a moving story about the tragic loss of a loved one who suffered from PTSD after returning from Iraq. Not to mention numerous stories from Zagreb or Sarajevo, which are often marked by a painful and tragic dissolution of the country in the bloody war in ex-Yugoslavia.”
The Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston will present an exhibition from the permanent collection of the Museum of Broken Relationships on Friday, May 20, 2011. It will be on view through June 4, 2011. Support the Museum of Broken Relationships’ efforts on Kickstarter.