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Group of artistic dissidents founded by artist Paul-Émile Borduas, but inspired by stream-of-consciousness (automatic) French poet, André Breton. Borduas applied this automatism to his painting.

Though it began as a visual arts group, it soon spread to other types of artists and inspired yet many others in Quebec culture.

The beginnings of the movement are usually traced to an exhibition Borduas gave in Montreal in 1942, but the group was soon exhibiting in New York and Paris as well.

More to our purpose, Borduas released a manifesto in 1948 called the Le Refus Global, which served also as a preface for a series of pieces by Claude Gauvreau, playwright and brother of Pierre (one of the original members of the group).

The group disbanded soon after the manifesto was published but the effects of the Refus, the movement's concepts and Gauvreau's own Automatiste-inspired work continue to be felt in Quebec art and drama to the present day. Young playwrights in Quebec are still experimenting with Automatism, though none has been as successful as Gauvreau.

Last updated 2006-11-14