One of Wyrzykowski's three actions from the 1990s in which the artist directly addressed the political developments of the period in Poland. The other two performances were Swearing the President into Office – 23 December 1995, 7 PM and Copyright.
The performance Nato Now! Safe Poland or No Poland At All was the artist's reaction to the debate concerning Poland's accession to the North Atlantic Alliance. After the collapse of Communism in Poland, the country regained independence in terms of its foreign policy, yet the West was sceptical about the country's accession to NATO for fear of a negative reaction of Russia. The former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger proposed that Poland and other countries of the Eastern Bloc should form a “neutral zone.” Wyrzykowski's performance expressed the artist's concern about the deceleration of changes underway in Poland amidst democratic transition. Remaining outside NATO would leave the country in the Russian sphere of influence.
Treating his body as a map of Europe became a manifestation of the artist's identification with his social reality. The emotional appeal of the performance results from the association of the history of Poland with his own history. The action was performed in several countries, such as Finland (where the presented footage was recorded), Romania and Canada. Wyrzykowski was accompanied by Anna Nizio, who was also a student of the Intermedia Studio at the State Higher School of Visual Arts (PWSSP) in Gdańsk. The artists became literally “glued to one another,” joining their hands and legs with adhesive tape. A bodily “identification” is a major aspect of Wyrzykowski's artistic practice. His action expressed the artist's faith in the process of democratisation and served to manifest his pride of being Polish.
© Piotr Wyrzykowski