Feature: Croatian Museum of Broken Relationships most popular on Valentine's Day

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ZAGREB, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) -- There are few places that speak so honestly about the reality of love, and one such place is the Museum of Broken Relationships in the Croatian capital city.

"It's a love museum, but maybe just upside down because you get to look at love when it is gone, but I think it is the sincerest view of it, in a way, because you don't have your pink glasses on. It is pretty real," Grubisic said.

The idea was to make a small art project to find a way to make things better for the heartbroken by storing the objects away where they could be preserved, Grubisic explained. That way, instead of destroying the objects, or keeping them at a delicate time when it tortures a person to see them, they are housed in the museum's collection.

by Relja Dusek

"Olinka and I were together at the time. While we were breaking up, we were talking about what to do with the objects that are left behind. These little things, little trinkets sometimes mean so much to us. They triggered the surge of memories and then you feel bad," Grubisic told Xinhua.

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The museum displays symbolic objects of lost love: a bass guitar left by ex-boyfriend, a gnome used to smash a partner's car, or an axe used to chop an ex-lover's furniture as a way to vent his anger. These, and many other exhibited items in the museum, offer a glimpse into people's failed love affairs.

As for the curatorial aspect, the museum's collection changes every couple of years. The objects are grouped by different themes. So today, a visitor to the Zagreb museum can walk through a room that speaks about business relationships that turned personal.

The creators of the museum are Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic, an arts producer and visual artist from Croatia. It all started as a simple, small idea, and a very personal thing.

The museum started with only 30 objects and now has up to 2,300. Since then, the museum has gone on to become one of the most visited in Croatia, not only on Valentine's Day but throughout the year.

"We try to combine and get a balance between very sad and really funny, sometimes hilarious, objects and to show the whole spectrum of things," Grubisic noted.

At the beginning, Vistica and Grubisic asked their friends to donate personal mementos of their broken relationships. With that collection, the exhibition traveled the world. After a few years, in 2010, the permanent Museum of Broken Relationships finally settled in Zagreb.

The museum is particularly popular on Valentine's Day when couples cautiously walk through the exhibit, looking at the tangible record of others' mistakes, as if they are trying to learn from them. They observe the seemingly ordinary objects and read the stories behind them.

Anyone can contribute to the museum by sending the physical items and their accompanying story. The exhibition is still traveling around the world and right now it is on its way to Norway, Japan, and probably, Shanghai in June.