Espen Iden’s practice is inspired by ordinary, interpersonal encounters, and social relationships. He seeks to create new spaces for collaboration and works concurrently with painting, photography, music, education, and curation. In this pursuit, he looks towards the richness of the fantasy world as much as towards genuine, established subcultures.

His visual work consists of oil paintings and analog photography compiled into books, both aimed at capturing the contemporary moment; capturing something beneath the surface. He labels both expressions as impressionistic; the painting in the traditional sense with the use of color and clear brushstrokes; in photography, impressionism takes the form of surprising focus, long exposure, unposed moments, unconventional portraits, and snapshots of life.

He is also involved in relational aesthetics. As the founder and curator of the Memphis gallery, he has organized 21 exhibitions since its establishment in November 2019, creating numerous social encounters. He counteracts the “12-year crisis” – a common creative crisis for children – at the Oslo Cultural School, and develops young individuals who plan artworks and trust their own choices. He invites people to dance floors with niche music where he experiences the most success in interpersonal encounters. Working with people of different ages and situations inspires his own visual expressions.

A picture of his artistic practice is best accompanied by a well-used and broad brush. With this, he is not necessarily pointing to his ability to depict with powerful and clear strokes. Instead, he sees the paintbrush as a representation of a broad or varied bouquet of threads, woven together into a shared story that points in different directions. A story where the narrative is subject to its experimental form. He naturally aims to create powerful expressions, but his primary goal is to use these threads, such as different references, materials, and techniques, to create a range of dialogues. Between different people, perceptions, and standpoints, between fantasy and reality or past and future, and between formats in encounters with oneself and others.

Espen was supported in his residency by Billedkunstnernes Vederlagsfond