Marthe Ramm Fortun at UKS


Artist: Marthe Ramm Fortun

Exhibition title: Skrive om byen, skrive den om

Curated by: Johanne Nordby Wernø

Venue: UKS, Oslo, Norway

Date: October 10  – November 9, 2014

Photography: Courtesy of UKS

In her first major solo exhibition in Norway, Marthe Ramm Fortun continues her polyphonic narrative about urban space, with the audience as her accomplices. Using sculpture, installation and sound, she weaves a story of power, ornamentation and empathy that takes her from Manhattan to Tullinløkka, where she invites the residents of Oslo to write about the town, rewrite it.


In recent years, Fortun’s art has focused on direct collaboration with the public. In one-on-one interactions that are hard to document, she has worked with memory and the shared subconscious, the exchange of texts and objects, empathy and trust. In Skrive om byen, skrive den om she adapts this unusual method for the first time into the form of a large, physical installation. It is a presentation that also lends itself to the various performances that will occur throughout the exhibition period.

A group of marble benches – which visitors are invited to write on with gold marker pens – will be moved between the gallery and the street outside, as a link between the exhibition hall and the public. Art is also transmitted into public space in the form of sound: a sound composition by the Swedish musician Thomas Öberg, known to many as the lead singer of bob hund, is played back in an old machine room. Specially commissioned for Fortun’s exhibition, the music seeps out onto the street beside the Tullinløkka tram stop.


The modern city – as a location for both individual choices and the thorough regulation of the individual – is the backdrop for Skrive om byen, skrive den om. In a city where many are by no means free to use public space as they wish, Marthe Ramm Fortun seeks to clear a free space between use and abuse.

According to the logic of the exhibition, art and the city belong to everyone; we all own the paintings and sculptures at the National Gallery and the gold fir cones at Grand Central. Just as Marthe Ramm Fortun found a marble bench front on the street and took it into her studio and had five copies made of it, and just as Jackie Kennedy Onassis took a copy of Hustler magazine with a paparazzi photograph of herself, naked, on the front cover, signed it, and sent it to Andy Warhol, anyone can now scribble on the town with a gold marker pen – write about it, rewrite it.