One of the most burdensome tasks in the aftermath of a painful breakup is having to return each other's belongings. Unless you decide to chuck them on a bonfire along with an effigy of your ex and the imagined future you'd projected onto them, most of us will go through this gruelling process at some point in our lives. But one couple, at their end of their own union 12 years ago, decided to take a different tack.
In the bid to soothe their own heartbreak, Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić brought together a selection of the items left over from their four-year relationship and displayed them for the world to see in an exhibition in Croatia. Soon enough, the Museum of Broken Relationships became a fully-fledged museum in the Old Town of Zagreb (and now LA), touring the world in places from London to South Africa, and morphing into something of a worldwide phenomenon.
The pair, having been sent the remnants of affairs gone sour from all over the world, have now curated a new book containing some of the most compelling items. The everyday objects, which range from the minute and seemingly insignificant (dried-up contact lenses, a tiny piece of paper, some candy), to the more obviously momentous (a diamond ring, a wedding veil), the intriguing (a Galileo thermometer, a hand-carved 'Pinocchio dick', a copy of The New Yorker), and the downright anger-inducing (silicone breast implants, a gifted copy of a weight-loss book), are fascinating. If you particularly relish the nitty gritty of other people's relationships and inner lives, the photos and accompanying stories will leave you transfixed.
All images © Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić 2017. Extracted from The Museum of Broken Relationships: Modern Love in 203 Everyday Objects by Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišic (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) out now.