an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 15-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Ian Willms. Location: La Barra, Uruguay Copyright Wondereur 2018.

MEET with artist Martin Pelenur curated by JR's studio director Marc Azoulay.

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1
FOR ME, SURFING IS A WAY OF LIFE.
2
I have pictures of me as a kid with my father, making my first steps on the board. Surfing is totally integrated into my body.
3
THERE’S A MOMENT OF PURE CONCENTRATION WHEN YOU’RE SURFING.
4
100 PER CENT OF YOUR MIND AND BODY IS ON ONE THING, AND YOU JUST TAKE THE WAVE.
5
You go and get a wave, and you do it again and again.
6
AT THAT MOMENT, I DON'T KNOW, IT’S MYSTICAL.
7
When you are creating, I think you reach the same level of concentration. I don't know if it lasts very long - 10 seconds, five minutes maybe. In Spanish there’s a word for this 'lucido', which is when you’re very, very sharp.
8
With painting, one thing takes you to another. It’s like a perpetual experiment: you know what to do, but you don’t know how it will resolve. The whole experience can lead you to other places.
9
I’M ALWAYS MOVING, EXPANDING MY LIMITS.
10
I have always been squattering. There’s a historic district of Montevideo where I lived for most of my life that has a lot of abandoned houses and buildings. I used to move around them, making studios here and there.
11
It felt raw and punky, but I was anxious to find a place that would become my own studio. It was on my mind for so many years.
12
NOW I WAKE UP EVERY MORNING AND I KNOW WHERE I AM.
13
I need to be in a place where I won’t be interrupted. Then I can focus on one thing and see if it works. If it doesn't, then I’ll do it again until it does.
14
THERE’S SOMETHING ABOUT PAINT THAT MAKES YOU CONTINUE TO PAINT AND PAINT AND PAINT.