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Le Refus Global

Artistic manifesto published in Montreal, Quebec in 1948, that had an important effect on culture in the province.

The manifesto was actually the first part of a book with short dramatic pieces by playwright Claude Gauvreau. The document was signed by the playwright and the 14 other members of the Automatistes (including artists Paul-Émile Borduas and Fernand Leduc and dancer Françoise Sullivan).

The manifesto's challenge was toward any dogma that obstructed creative spontaneity. With its references to liberation and resplendent anarchy, it foreshadowed the rise of the Quebec Nationalist movement.

The manifesto was immediately condemned by the press and government but it still has its effect on cultural thinking in Quebec (not merely on political concepts but stylistic ones as well) and is studied as an important document of social change.

On the occasion of the Refus's fiftieth anniversary, celebrations, readings and productions were held across Quebec. The heightened awareness caused by the celebrations renewed interest in this important document and movement, and theatrical artists in Quebec began to re-examine and restage the works of Gauvreau. (Théâtre du Nouveau Monde remounted his Les oranges sont vertes).

Last updated 2006-10-12