Capable of Idealism (2023)


Capable of Idealism (2023)

31.08.2023 - 05.11.2023 / MSU, 2. kat

Taras Gembik, Yulia Krivich, Kaja Kusztra / The "Sunflower" Solidarity Community Center

„We chose to carry out a performative reenactment of the 1981 Vlado Martek work, Capable of Idealism (Sposoban za idealizam). In our performance, Martek’s practice of visualizing poetry turned into a starting point for posing questions about sharing profits, power, and pleasures in the institutional space. Social structures in an art institution can be questioned using critical methods, but can they be consumed together?

Our collective, the "Sunflower" Solidarity Community Center (SCC), was brought to life as an emerging reaction against the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We use the institutional art platform of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw to initiate different forms of practices that support those who found themselves in the most fragile position after February 24th 2022, and intensify the debate about Russian imperialism. With administrative and organizational support of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, “Sunflower” actively seeks to answer the questions of the role of art institutions in a time of war and crisis.

"Sunflower" supports the community that has gathered around the initiative and collaborates with Ukrainian artists, activists, and cultural workers. The SCC has its own public programme on war, history, culture and art, Russian imperialism or the issue of decolonisation in Eastern Europe. It hosts lectures, workshops, educational and performance activities, film club events, poetry evenings, concerts, meetings with artists and activists. It also provides a safe space for being together. The initiative operates in the Museum's office space on Pańska Street and is supported by the Institution's resources and infrastructure. To quote Kuba Depczyński, ‘"Sunflower", on the one hand, is part of the history of 'solidarity' practices within museums (such as the transformation of the Malmo Art Museum in 1945 into a home for female prisoners liberated from concentration camps, or the creation of food repositories in American museums during the COVID-19 pandemic); on the other hand, it was, especially in its first phase, primarily an emergency action rather than an 'art project'.’

The SCC created a whole network of cooperating collectives and organizations: thanks to the Wandering Women's Foundation (Fundacja Kobiet Wędrownych) and the commitment of volunteers, sandwiches and hot meals were made and distributed in the 'Sunflower'; people within the Bądź Foundation collected medicines and medical equipment that was later sent to Ukrainian hospitals; students from the Academy of Special Pedagogy ran classes for refugee children and the 'Photos for Documents' group, and the BIPOC refugee support lawyers provided their photographic and legal services.

The sunflower is not only a sign of the global movement against nuclear weapons, but also the national flower of Ukraine, the world's largest exporter of sunflower oil. Sunflowers became a symbol of Ukrainian resistance and hope when a viral video circulated on the Web showing a woman handing Russian soldiers a handful of sunflower seeds, predicting: "You will die on my land. Put the seeds in your pockets, at least let sunflowers grow after you." The “Sunflower” Solidarity Community Center is managed by Maria Berburia, Sebastian Cichocki, Kuba Depczyński, Taras Gembik, Yulia Krivich, Kaja Kusztra, Natalia Sielewicz, Bogna Stefańska, and their friends and allies.“


Taras Gembik, Yulia Krivich, Kaja Kusztra



Curator: Ana Škegro

Exhibition set-up: Taras Gembik, Yulia Krivich, Kaja Kusztra, Ana Škegro

Translation: Janja Čulig

Design: Sanja Kuzmanović

Production: MSU Zagreb

Technical set-up: Mirjana Grab, Višnja Igrc, Aleksandar Milošević, Renato Mihaljenović, Sanela Tepić, Filip Zima