IF IT is the shards of ancient Greek pots or oodles of romantically bulging female flesh that interest you then head around the corner to Zagreb's venerable Klovicevi Dvori gallery. The most exciting addition to the Croatian capital's cultural scene offers something different, and is a break with tradition. It is a collection of items that everyone can actually identify with. They are housed in the Museum of Broken Relationships, whose entire collection is made up of objects remaining in the wake of failed relationships, or in some cases, after death.


The museum is the brainchild of two artists, Olinka Vistica and Drazen Grubisic. They went out together between 1999 and 2003, and when they broke up they did not know what to do with all sorts of treasured items that meant something only to them, for example their wind-up, hopping bunny, which they had wanted to take pictures of around the world. The only solution? "We should set up a museum,"they laughed.

该博物馆是由两位艺术家奥林卡·韦斯蒂卡(Olinka Vistica)和德拉任·格鲁比希奇(Dazen Grubisic)构思创立的。他们在1999年到2003年间曾经是情侣,当他们分手的时候,他们不知道该怎么处理那些只对他们非常有意义的乱七八糟的宝贝,比如他们原想带着去世界各地照相的发条兔。唯一的解决办法就是?“建立一个专门收集这些东西的博物馆”。他们笑着说。

Three years later Mr Grubisic called Ms Vistica. He said: "You know that idea we had…?" So, the pair set to asking their friends to donate objects that had been left behind after break-ups. To their surprise, they did. The first exhibition opened in a container. Since then the idea has taken off. Lugging everything from garter belts to garden gnomes around in suitcases they have taken their ever- expanding collection all over the world. Last month they opened the museum's first permanent gallery, in Zagreb's old town.


If they were just showcasing old boots, airsickness bags and fluffy toys then the collection would amount to nothing more than meaningless bric-a-brac. But the sometimes heart-rending tales or even just simple sentences accompanying each item bring it all to life. For example, alongside a French identity card a Slovene has written: "The only thing left of a great love was citizenship." One woman, who gave an axe, recounts how she used it to chop her girlfriend's furniture into tiny pieces when she left her. The ex collected the remains and "the axe was promoted to a therapy instrument."


From Switzerland someone has donated an unopened packet containing a candy G-string. "He turned out to be as cheap and shabby as his presents." Among the most moving of all the items, inevitably, are some related to the bloody collapse of Yugoslavia. One is a love letter written by a boy to a girl he met in a convoy of vehicles while being evacuated from Sarajevo under siege in 1992. He never got to give it to her but he never forgot her either. Another is a prosthetic foot given by a man who lost his own one during the Croatian war. He fell in love with the social worker who helped him obtain certain things he needed but comments, "the prosthesis endured longer than our love. It was made of sturdier material!"