Friday Fry Up: Ryan Frigillana — The Weight of Slumber


“The Weight of Slumber is an exploration of grief as it unfolded during the unprecedented events of 2020. From the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown, my grief and loneliness were immeasurably compounded by the abrupt end of a near-six-year relationship. Quarantined and faced with the sudden loss of intimacy and physical contact, I began forming a connection with—and harboring an attuned sensitivity to—the immediate spaces and objects around my home. From the smallest insects to the chorus of rain marching down my gutters, from the snow blowing in through my window living and dying on my bed, to the found photographs I obsessively collected—everything seemed to whisper with weighted words. Sought in the heart of all things: a prayer, a song, an embrace. Deep in the vacuum of isolation, I yearned for the familiarity of touch, of love and comfort. These images served as vehicles for reconciliation and escape—a simultaneous mirror and compass through grief. Meditations on space, proximity, surface, and ephemerality, recreate the mental landscape of loss and longing I struggled to navigate.”



Ryan Frigillana is a Philippine-born lens-based artist whose praxis revolves around the collective dynamics of memory, intimacy, and family identity, largely filtered through the lens of race and immigration. Harnessing the elasticity of the medium—mining both familial and public archives to shift, augment, and create new meaning—he explores photography’s relationship to context as a vehicle for thematic dialogue.

He is the author of two monographs: The Weight of Slumber (2021), recently published by Penumbra Foundation, and Visions of Eden (2020), self-published in two editions and currently held in the library collections of the Museum of Modern Art, The Morgan Library and Museum, Getty Research Institute, and the Smithsonian among others. In 2021 he was awarded a MUUS Collection / Penumbra Foundation Risograph Print & Publication Residency and was recently named a recipient of the NYFA / JGS Fellowship for Photography.

Ryan lives and works in New York.

To see more of Ryan Frigillana’s work visit — Website / Instagram.