Soggettività ed empatia: il Museo delle Relazioni interrotte di Zagabria

Maria Giovanna Mancini

The Muzej prekinutih veza (Museum of Broken Relationships) in Zagreb is a museum space born from a project by curator and film producer Olinka Vištica and artist Dražen Grubišić. It preserves the open allure of the project as well as the original heterogeneous unity of everyday objects. The private dimension and the intimate details that make up the painful, grotesque, and at times comical event of a break-up, stand at the core of the museum, conceived as a place of emphatic relational knowledge. “Things”, much more than inert objects (Bodei), possess inner vitality, which in the last decade has been investigated by museology (Turkle), especially concerning the curatorial practice and the emotional engagement strategies (Savnije, de Bruijn) very often used in history museums (e.g. the Jüdische Museum and the permanent exhibition of Topographie des Terrors, both in Berlin). Thanks to its rigorous and minimalist setup, in the museum of Zagreb the objects on display, accompanied by explicative texts that illustrate their symbolic value, establish a personal relationship with the public. Museologists, starting from the studies on the postcolonial museum, have questioned the repressive nature of Western exhibition practices that severe the contextual references of the works exhibited, and even transform their sensory nature (Edwards, Gosden, Phillips). Taking the Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb as a case study, my paper addresses recent theoretical approaches that argue for the development, within the museum discourse, of “modest” stories (Pamuk) that contribute to stimulating the audience’s sensitivity, enhancing new practices of knowledge.