What is left to be said about love? Stepping out into the world we find ourselves standing amidst an ever-flowing stream of art and culture about the presentation/categorization/rejection of love and yet all we know for certain is that it’s a definitively indefinable feeling we all try to carve out for ourselves in one way or another.
As we enter the month where such efforts are expedited even more-so – the loved searching for a means of quantifying and the loveless searching for anything at all – perhaps it’s in our best interest to take a step back and take an inventory.
It is with this in mind that IUPUI and Indianapolis as a whole is honored to be hosting the internationally acclaimed Museum of Broken Relationships at the Herron School of Art and Design. Describing itself as a “public space created with the sole purpose of treasuring and sharing your heartbreak stories and symbolic possessions,” the Museum anonymously sources and displays personal objects from former lovers along with brief synopses submitted by contributors.
The opening will mark the eleventh trip to the US and the second visit to Indiana after the Museum’s previous success at IU Bloomington. What drew the founders to Indiana, outside of the original invitation from IU artist Feliz Çiçek and Professor of Museum Studies for the School of Liberal Arts Lois H. Silverman respectively, was the state’s history with Kinsey Institute and its exploration of sexuality, relationships, and well-being.
While such a project began as a joke by the two founding artists after their four-year relationship came to an end in 2003, what the organization has come to represent in the eyes of co-founder Olinka Vištica is “the chance [for] every broken-hearted individual to overcome an emotional collapse through the process of remembrance, text composition and re-creation.”
The collection has seen its variety of objects get submitted, from rings to dolls to an empty bag of fortune cookies attached to a Starbucks cup. Yet despite some three-thousand contributions, the greater questions still linger. “Paradoxically enough,” Vištica states, “we often say that the more we are involved in this project, the less we know about love and its mysterious ways.” Such a statement is not meant to discourage those searching, however, for Vištica clarifies that “in an era where everything in our lives becomes analyzed, quantified, and our choices (even the choice of a potential partner) are often suggested by an application or an algorithm, love and relationships still remain in the realms where magic can happen.”
This magical element has not only kept the Museum going strong for nearly two decades, but further cements the message of optimism. When asked about the legacy, Collections Manager Charlotte Fuentes doubles down on such feelings, speaking about “the unique narrative of hybrid authorship, somewhere between the documentation of everyday life and its artistic sublimation, prying voyeurism and cultural anthropology. It is a celebration of those moments when we truly meet one another no matter how painful or difficult they might be.”
Though the innocent and soft-hearted among us may wish that we would never require such a museum in the first place, Fuentes explains the optimistically bittersweet truth that “Such feelings seem inevitable for human beings. [But luckily] the Museum honors solitude, sadness, and melancholia as something valuable that makes us human – something that makes us grow.”
You too can join the growth by attending the Museum’s opening reception with Q&A between the co-founders Olinka Vištica and Dražen Grubišić on Wednesday, February 8 starting at 6 pm at the Herron School of Art and Design,
Learn more about the Museum at: brokenships.com