Black Market International (BMI) was founded in 1985. Boris Nieslony, Jürgen Fritz, Norbert Klassen, Jacques Van Poppel, Zygmunt Piotrowski, Nigel Rolfe, and Thomas Ruller were working with Black Market in the early years. Over 25 years the group has presented its unique, durational performances throughout the world in a range of venues and locations. At the present time, is the association of 11 artists from 9 countries: Jürgen Fritz (D), Myriam Laplante (CA-I), Alastair MacLennan (UK), Helge Meyer (D), Boris Nieslony (D), Elvira Santamaria (MEX), Julie Andree T. (CA), Marco Teubner (D), Roi Vaara (FIN), Jacques van Poppel (NL), Lee Wen (SIN).
Norbert Klassen (CH) 1941-2011
BMI has always avoided the definition of an organized group. Its main aim is to promote, just like in a "black market", the free exchange of ideas, emotions and energies, and to achieve, through the principle of contamination, the ideal of Art of Begegnung (the art of encounter).
The basic principle of Black Market International is an open system of encounter in the deepest sense of the term. This meeting takes place when at least two or more people are confronted in an open system, without the structure of a group, and without fixed themes or roles. During a performance several actions are performed by different people and through those actions, images are created.
Unpredictability, randomness, stratification and simultaneity of actions, art-life relationship, interaction and versatility are the basis of the BMI experimentation. This happens through an encounter in which isolated, fragmented relationships, are combined harmoniously in a sort of cosmic solidarity determined by free trade: giving and receiving.The immateriality of a performance is the encounter between humans, that which exists between things, temperature, frequency, proximity and distance and all untold reasons of the heart. The performances of BMI are not programmed. Normally, the artists meet in the space reserved for the performance. Each artist brings their material, their personality, ideas, experiences, preferences, pains and struggles. Once the meeting starts, the individual artists become Black Market International.
The meeting develops over time, as the performance progresses. At one point, the ideas start to transform, and things start to happen. Time follows the dynamics of a roller-coaster ... up, down, slow, fast, lost, found ... But there's also the jester that pushes the action to the absurd and one that slows and condenses the time until it reaches a crystal clear focus.
Nobody directs the meetings, BMI works with an anti-structure. Sometimes beauty appears from the darkness, sometimes boredom leads to knowledge, seeking new ways and refusing rules. Anything can happen. Sometimes the meetings lead to the exhaustion of the artists or the public. Black Market International is a perpetual laboratory.