When a relationship ends, the once treasured mementos of a lost romance – from teddy bears to love letters – are most likely destined for the bin, or even the fire. But some of those bittersweet gifts have now been given a new purpose, as part of an award-winning exhibition called the Museum of Broken Relationships。
Items donated by heartbroken owners include a prosthetic leg, a pair of handcuffs, a collection of Proust novels – complete with sand between the pages – and a set of seven bras. There are even the keys to an ex-boyfriend’s apartment。
Most of the objects are displayed anonymously and each one comes with a caption that includes the location, date and length of relationship。
Lila La Scala, 29, donated a piano that she was given by a one-time lover with the caption "for sale"。
The singer, from Westcliff, Essex, said: "It was given to me in 2005 by someone I had a rather short affair with. I wouldn’t consider it a relationship, it lasted about two and a half months, and when it ended he gave me a piano. It’s quite a strange parting gift to give someone. I thought it would raise a smile with people at the exhibition."
The concept was dreamt up eight years ago in Croatia when film producer Olinka Vistica and designer and artist Drazen Grubisic split up after four years. They refused to treat their broken relationship like “an illness” and instead set about celebrating their time together。
They asked their friends to donate their own discarded love tokens and soon built up a large collection。
The London stop of the exhibition’s world tour, lasts a week and spans two Covent Garden venues: the Tristan Bates Theatre and 38 Earlham Street。
Tickets cost 3.50 pounds, and there are linked literary, film and dance events。
Laura Kriefman, of the Tristan Bates Theatre, said: "As you walk around reading these stories some of them are full of anger and hurt while others are full of joy and resilience."