Marthe Ramm Fortun is a Norwegian performance artist, born in Oslo in 1978. In site-specific works, she subjects classical references to structured improvisation, where audience members are invited to contribute, their input giving structure and choreography to the performances.
Always on the lookout for subtle but irreversible takeovers of access to public space, Fortun actively refers to the relationships between performer and audience, art object and society, revealing flaws and vulnerabilities rather than aiming sublimation. The methods she employs in her performances when working in the public realm, include observing a specific venue in a historical, institutional, and political context, and approaching the people who spend time working, loitering, or living in a certain environment, treating these existing structures as her formal parameters. In her site specific performances, Ramm Fortun brings found texts and objects to a space of plurality. Using historic paradigm shifts and cultural references, structured improvisation is confined by the surrounding architecture, art historical references, abstract paintings, the throwing of fruit and commercial billboards. She involves the audience partly in a formal exercise, partly in a critical and hopeful environment. The dynamics shift between participation and alienation in unscripted moments where the individual may or may not assume power over her own conditions. This quest takes on poetic, repetitious and rambling forms that seek to abolish distinctions between utilitarianism and formalism. Risk, anxieties, boredom and exhalation are all options.
In her first major solo exhibition, titled Skrive om byen, skrive den om, in translation Writing about the city, she adapts her unusual method for the first time into the form of a large, physical installation. Marthe 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.
Marthe Ramm Fortun holds an MFA in Studio Art from New York University Steinhardt. She has performed at venues such as Tidens Krav and The Museum of Contemporary Art in Oslo, Sculpture Center and Poetry Project at St. Marks Church in New York and Styx Projects in Berlin.