Julia Morison

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1952


  • 1993
  • Gold paint, gold leaf and excrement on paper
  • Gift of the Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery and Julia Morison to mark Jenny Harper's retirement as director, 2018
  • 2018/006

In the early 1990s, Julia Morison used gold and shit in many works, exploring the idealised and base elements of human experience. She drew on the Jewish Sefiroth as a model for thinking about the relationship between the physical and the metaphysical. “Personally, I need to put some kind of order on experience for sake of sanity and negotiation,” she said. “The Sefirothic structure, or Tree of Knowledge, is really a metaphorical file and folder system for all; a conceptual paradigm for understanding everything. Putting that at the core of my practice gives me the freedom to admit everything and anything, micro and macro, metaphysical and corporeal, as legitimate content. It also gives me an interface to compose works.”

The title of this work, Dulia, is a Catholic term for worship given to saints and angels. Here Morison has pressed gold and excrement on to handmade paper balls, which are threaded together like the beads of a catholic rosary—an invitation to meditate on the relationship of the sacred and the profane, on a monumental scale.

Exhibition History