Pauline Julier — Naturalis Historia


Installation, sound - music, mixed media, video

Pauline Julier
Naturalis Historia

Past: September 9 → December 17, 2017

The Centre culturel suisse is pleased to present for the first time in France Naturalis Historia, an installation by Pauline Julier that mounts several nature stories thanks to a number of sound and visual devices. Each story explores a situation where men are grappling with nature, which points up their obsessions and shakes their certainties to the core.

Rather like an essay, the show exists at the crossroads of the personal point of view and the documentary study, adopting a kaleidoscopic form. It lays out the narratives, traces and gathered objects to form different layers in what could be seen as an excerpt from a personal encyclopedia—contemporary and visual.

“Naturalis Historia defends the idea that humans, seeking to shape a raw, changing world, confine it with their categories of thought, which lend it a certain stability. I want to stress how much the concepts that are used to organize the diversity of the world are our own; we produce them and with them the risk of emptying the world of its essence by freezing it in a catalogue of images, landscapes, definitions, and resolutions (scientific, religious, etc.) It is the same movement as that of the volcano that snuffs out life by freezing a forest or city in place. The same drive as that of the photographic image which slices up the “real” and thus plays a part in holding in place a world to be seen and understood. It is the same illusion of the continuity of movement produced by the film image. The world is emptied of its raw vitality and organized according to representational codes that are inevitably anthropized.” Pauline Julier

With the participation of Philippe Descola, the anthropologist and chair of anthropology at the Collège de France, Paris; Bruno Latour, the philosopher, anthropologist, professor at Sciences Po, director of the medialab, and founder of SPEAP (program of experimentation in the arts and politics), Paris; and the paleobiologist Professor Wang, Research Professor of Palaeobotany, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, China.

The show was coproduced with La Ferme Asile in Sion and enjoys the generous support of the Contemporary Art Fund of the City of Geneva; the Cantonal Contemporary Art Fund Geneva; the Centre National des Arts Plastiques (France); HEAD, the Haute Ecole d’Art et de Design of Geneva; and the Département Cinéma / cinéma du réel.


Pauline Julier (1981, lives and works in Geneva) is an artist and filmmaker who studied at the École Supérieure de la Photographie of Arles and Sciences Po, Paris. Her films have been screened at the Rencontres internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid, the Hors Pistes Festival at the Pompidou Center in Paris, the Loop Festival in Barcelona, the Visions du réel Festival in Nyon, the Tokyo Wonder Site, the Gaité Lyrique in Paris, the Internationale Kurzfilmtage in Oberhausen, and the Istanbul Biennial.

Her work has been featured in numerous shows, notably at the Ferme-Asile, Sion (2017); Reset Modernity, ZKM, Karlsruhe (2016); Biennale de l’image en mouvement, Centre d’art contemporain, Geneva; the Museum of Old and New Art, Hobart; and Arthub, Shanghai (2014-2015).

03 Le Marais Zoom in 03 Le Marais Zoom out

32-38, rue des Francs-Bourgeois

75003 Paris

T. 01 42 71 44 50

Hôtel de Ville
Saint-Sébastien – Froissart

Opening hours

Every day except Monday, 1 PM – 7 PM
Librairie lu-ve 10h-18h / sa-di 13h-19h

Admission fee

Free entrance

The artist

  • Pauline Julier