Skip to main content
Sculpture (MA)

Janina Frye

Janina Frye (b. 1987, Germany) lives and works in Amsterdam and London. She received her BA from AKV St. Joost ’s-Hertogenbosch (NL) in 2014. In 2017, Frye was awarded with the Young Talent Award from the Mondriaan Fund. Recently, she was a participant at the EKWC (European Ceramic Work Center) in the Netherlands in 2020.

Select solo exhibitions include, Kiss off life, P/////AKT, Amsterdam, NL (2018); People are nowhere near so fluid, Onomatopee, Eindhoven, NL (2017); What it's Like to Be a Thing, Moira, Utrecht, NL (2016). Select group exhibitions include Flesh, Old Operation Theatre Museum, London, UK (2020); Jacob die Hose, Jacob the pants, DAAD Artshow, Copeland Gallery, London (2019); Prospect & Concept, Mondriaan Fond, Art Rotterdam, NL (2019); Sense & Sensibility, Onomatopee, Eindhoven, NL (2017); The future of the human, Springhouse, Amsterdam, NL (2017); Museum Night Amsterdam, Arti et Amicitiae, Amsterdam, NL (2016); Communication with the non-human / One-Minute-Series, Eye Museum, Amsterdam, NL (2016); Reinventing Happiness, Stedelijk Museum ’s-Hertogenbosch, NL (2015); BEST OF GRADUATES, Gallery Ron Mandos, Amsterdam, NL (2014); Tent Academy Award Exhibition, Tent, Rotterdam, NL (2014).

Frye is going to participate with her work in the group exhibition 'Test Case XXIII' at EKWC (European Ceramic Work Center, Oisterwijk, NL) on 3 July 2021, further she will show her work at the Cacao Fabriek in Helmond (NL) in October 2021 and currently she is working on an edition for P/////AKT in Amsterdam (NL).

Janina Frye’s sculptures and installations present a concept of the human — a transformative system with connections, overlaps and entanglements linking the body to the outside world. Through the lens of new materialism, systemic theories and her personal observations, she puts forward the idea that the human skin is not a border but an interface to the outside world. She explores how new scientific insights, as well as social, economic and climate changes confuse the modern binary logic between human/object, animate/inanimate, nature/culture. In a time of shifting realities, when we realise that we are more non-human animal than human or more machine than human, the artist wonders how this impels a process of alienation from our personal bodily perception.

Moreover, Frye is interested in the 'the invisible' in which immaterial and imaginary entities, fictions, phantoms and emergent processes influence this process of alienation. She often uses her personal body perceptions as source of inspiration. She tries to translate sensory feelings in material and material conditions. For example, how breath is related to anxiety and tension, or the feeling of absence and lost memories and the presence of phantoms. By applying living-characteristics (like the movement of respiration) to non-living material, Frye aims to animate the non-living. 

Further, her works are made from various materials and objects found in everyday life like, compressors, shop utilities, devices from public transport or medical aid. Removed from their original contexts and combined together these items create a complex network of associations and circulating contexts. They are alienated from their intended function(s) creating a new species of anonymous entities.


The title is borrowed from the Blue Morpho butterfly. While the antonym of the origin ancient greek word ‘morpho’, is ‘amorph’ which means shapeless, the roughly meaning of the word ‘morpho’ is ‘the shape one’. This refers to an ultimate shape and it stands in contradiction to Frye's concept of the human body. She uses this contradiction to rethink the concept of the ‘shape one’. The work was produced at the European Ceramic Center (Sundaymorning@EKWC) in Oisterwijk, The Netherlands.

Material: Ceramic, cotton belts, plastic buckles

Size: 100 x 72 x 60 cm

Photos by Ilya Rabinovich


The postures and the monumental presence of the torsos remind of traditional sculptures from the ancient greek, but they also defy the expectation of a perfectly and geometric shaped body. Rather they display mutations of bones and flesh, incorporated with hindsights of functionalities, like cut outs in the shape of handles or holes where you could tie something down and traces of 3-D rendering. Further, their skin is matt and coloured, greenish and blue. With this series of sculptures Frye speculates on a new species that disrupts the distinction between human and object, female and male, and human and non-human animal. The work was produced at the European Ceramic Center (Sundaymorning@EKWC) in Oisterwijk, The Netherlands.

Material: Ceramics, cotton belts, plastic buckles

Size: Olive: 109 x 71 x 54cm; Green: 108 x 70 x 60cm

Photos by Ilya Rabinovich


The work 'call and response', is an installation of a ceramic object, a bar chair and cotton belts. It refers to the feedback loop of the consumerist culture, which is in a continuously dialog with our body, our concept of the body and our perception. In general with the use of utilitarian structures in her work, Frye wants to refer to something familiar. And by combining the familiar with the alien she wants to suggest a re-evaluation of the existing normalities. The work was produced at the European Ceramic Center (Sundaymorning@EKWC) in Oisterwijk, The Netherlands.

Material: Ceramic, cotton belts, plastic buckles, bar chair, plastic foil

Size: 120 x 65 x 45 cm

Photos by Ilya Rabinovich


By wondering how our bodily perception might change, Frye started looking at new technologies which might change our perception and our image of the human body. ‘Anterior longitudinal sacroiliac ligament’ is the result of a journey into an AR-application for medical surgical training purposes. This sculpture presents re-contextualize body parts which Frye found in the application. The sculpture is named after the medical names of these body parts. She was looking for parts and areas within our body which looks familiar and alienated to us because often we are not totally aware of how the inside of the human body look like. Frye is interested in the history of medical illustrations and how distributed intelligences has shaped how we imagine the body looks like form the inside. 

Material: Metal, acrylic resin, polyurethane foam

Size: 130 x120 x 80cm

Photos by Julia Biasi



Various materials interacting as a system, covered by an olive green skin (made from latex) which is showing traces and imprints of an anonymous inside. The work presents two solid bodies connected to vacuum compressors. The vacuum compressors are sucking air out of the bodies, after a while, when the compressors turned off, slowly the bodies gaining air and the imprints are becoming less visible. The material is getting slowly stretched and relieved like a respiratory system. After a certain time, the compressors are turned-on and sucking out the air again. This process repeats itself every 10-20 min.

Material: Latex, vacuum compressor, metal, plasticine, pvc hoses

Size: each 180 x 120 x 5 cm

Photos by Julia Biasi

The warmth of a seat is an installation with a concrete cast from an upper leg and a lifting cushion which is normally in use in ambulances. The compressor is controlled by an Arduino chip. Throughout the exhibition the cushion is getting slowly inflated and deflated, so the leg cast is getting moved up and sinking down. The title refers to the Marcel Duchamp term 'the infrathin'. It's a term which rejects definition, it can only be described by examples, 'the warmth of a seat' is one of it. Frye made this work before her time at the RCA. It was part of her solo show 'Kiss off life' at P/////AKT in Amsterdam in 2018.

Material: Inflatable cushion, compressor, concrete, plastazote foam, arduino

Size: 120 x 110 x 130cm

Photos by Charlott Markus

Frye made this work before her time at the RCA. It was part of her solo show 'Kiss off life' at P/////AKT in Amsterdam in 2018.

Material: Medical thermoplastic, metal rod, water, watercolour, plastazote foam

Size: 140 x 40 x 60cm

Photos by Charlott Markus

The work is based on the idea that everything exists out of imprints of slightly different versions of something. When something suddenly disappears it’s not completely deleted, it always leaves traces. The work is made from medical thermoplastic, it shows imprint in the plastic from various shapes. Frye made this work before her time at the RCA. It was part of her solo show 'Kiss off life' at P/////AKT in Amsterdam in 2018.

Material: Medical thermoplastic, straps, metal stand, plastazote foam

Size: 130 x 55 x 40cm

Photos by Charlott Markus

Reframing 1 is an installation with a rail, a motor and a long hollow tube attached to the it. This apparatus is usually used in hospitals to transfer people who cannot walk. The installation moves in a random interval. A motor starts running and moves the tube through the exhibition space, this may effect the spectator’s experience, as they must step to the side to free space for the tube to move. Frye made this work before her time at the RCA. It was part of her solo show 'Kiss off life' at P/////AKT in Amsterdam in 2018.

Material: medical hoist lift, aluminium rail, aluminium tube, straps, plastazote foam, Arduino

Size: 300 x 200 x 250 cm

Photos by Charlott Markus

DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service )

Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds