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ZONA FRANCA - FREE ZONE
He silently roams the coasts of Italy with a compact camera, like a witness of our times. He “steals” shots to create a catalogue of beach humanity. Pierfranco Argentiero, working like a craftsman, in a methodical and meticulous manner, for almost twenty years has collected hundreds of photographs of people on holiday, where social differences if not cancelled, certainly diminished. At the beach, the rules change and we change: less shyness, more patience, less neurosis. Somehow born out of holiday boredom and transformed into an investigation, this work gave rise to archetypal characters, recognisable at a glance. We can all recognise the environment in which they were taken, despite the fact that they are decontextualised: there is the street vendor, the lady sheltering from the sun, people playing or reading and the bored beach attendant. Set next to each other, these images create an endless beach, where the sea is never seen, but is always present, because it is in our memory. No matter where sun sunbeds and umbrellas, human beings, cabins and chiringuitos are portrayed: the beach as we know it, a leisurely space and a break from normal life - “an invention” established since the 1930s - is a non-place. In just a century, it has evolved from being a source of food and the starting and finishing point of a journey, to become the suburbs of the city, devoted to pleasure and equally well-equipped everywhere. Without historical, political, geographical and social context, it remains a bare backdrop. It is no coincidence that Argentiero’s archetypes all live on an unchanging backdrop, a monochrome, sandcoloured tabula rasa. By their mere existence, by their repeated gestures, they want to tell us about our society. They are our mirror and we recognise ourselves immediately. Zona Franca is not just a place created ex nihilo, it is a historical document. Argentiero’s work is conscious and clear-sighted and offers itself to future generations, who may change their habits or no longer have beaches to invade, as a memory.
Isola d'Elba 2009/01
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Isola d'Elba 2009/01
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sardegna 2014/02
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Sardegna 2014/02
Pierfranco Argentiero

Isola d'Elba 2008/03
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Isola d'Elba 2008/03
Pierfranco Argentiero

Isola Toscana 2008/04
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Isola Toscana 2008/04
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sicilia 2010/05
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Sicilia 2010/05
Pierfranco Argentiero

Liguria 2018/06
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Liguria 2018/06
Pierfranco Argentiero

Romagna 2016/07
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Romagna 2016/07
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sardegna 2014/52
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Sardegna 2014/52
Pierfranco Argentiero

Liguria 2016/08
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Liguria 2016/08
Pierfranco Argentiero

Romagna 2013/10
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Romagna 2013/10
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sardegna 2020/16
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Sardegna 2020/16
Pierfranco Argentiero

Marche 2009/17
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Marche 2009/17
Pierfranco Argentiero

Toscana 2022/48
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Toscana 2022/48
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sardegna 2014/19
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Sardegna 2014/19
Pierfranco Argentiero

Marche 2015/20
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Marche 2015/20
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sicilia 2010/25
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Sicilia 2010/25
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sicilia 2010/26
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Sicilia 2010/26
Pierfranco Argentiero

Romagna 2014/27
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Romagna 2014/27
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sardegna 2014/30
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Sardegna 2014/30
Pierfranco Argentiero

Marche 2009/31
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Marche 2009/31
Pierfranco Argentiero

Romagna 2016/32
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Romagna 2016/32
Pierfranco Argentiero

Marche 2009/35
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Marche 2009/35
Pierfranco Argentiero

Isola d'Elba 2009/40
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Isola d'Elba 2009/40
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sicilia 2010/42
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Sicilia 2010/42
Pierfranco Argentiero

Veneto 2011/44
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Veneto 2011/44
Pierfranco Argentiero

Marche 2021/47
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Marche 2021/47
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sardegna 2015/50
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Sardegna 2015/50
Pierfranco Argentiero

Sardegna 2014/08
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Sardegna 2014/08
Pierfranco Argentiero

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