an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 15-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Julien Pebrel. Location: Paris, France Copyright Wondereur 2017.

MEET with artist Mathis Collins curated by premier talent spotter Dorothée Dupuis.

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I COULD TALK ABOUT IT FOR HOURS.
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It’s strange, considering that, physically, it’s quite the opposite of what I would be attracted to.
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But as a material, it has so many existences in the world. It’s just so many things.
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I HAVEN’T GOTTEN TIRED OF IT YET. THAT’S UNUSUAL FOR ME.
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While I was working in Catalonia, a wildfire started on a parking lot and boom, it destroyed 18,000 hectares of trees that went up in smoke.
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But next year, people will remove the burnt bark and hopefully the trees will be healthy enough to thrive again.
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THE CORK TREE IS RESISTANT TO FIRE.
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I met a man who had been harvesting cork for the past 30 years. People were harming the trees in the region. So he took it upon himself to teach people how to care for them. It’s a very delicate job.
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THE CORK TREE NEEDS TO BE HARVESTED IN ORDER TO GROW. THERE’S A REAL RELATIONSHIP HERE.
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When I put these ears and noses on trees, it’s sort of a metaphor of how tight our connection to nature can be.
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CORK IS A SYMBOL AND IT'S A BUSINESS. IT'S POLITICAL.
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Before going to art school, I was doing slam poetry and punk music. It was always clear to me that I was making art for those people who had a hard time understanding conceptual minimal art.
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I want to make art that I can show any guy in a cork forest who has never seen art before and is able to get a kick out of it.
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I WANT TO BE ABLE TO SAY, ‘THIS IS ME, THIS IS WHAT I MAKE. WHAT CAN WE MAKE TOGETHER?’