Refus Global, arte cambiando mentalidades

Colección del museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Montréal
Cheminement bleu

Borduas felt that artistic expression should be automatic; that the artist would not go through the normal process of deciding what to paint, making sketches, and then slowly creating a finished canvas in their studio. Instead, Borduas felt that artists should paint rapidly without any forethought, design, or even specific intentions as to what they were going to paint. They should paint automatically, letting their feelings and emotions flood out onto the canvas. The goal of automatic painting was not to create a beautiful picture, but to express the artist's sub-conscious feelings and impulses.

At the time Borduas enunciated these ideas, French-Canadian society was more conservative than it is today. Quebec's educational system was still dominated by the Catholic Church. Ideas which were deemed radical were rejected. Social views in Quebec were complex, but they tended to reflect the views of the church. In this context, Borduas's ideas and art were, indeed, very radical. In Refus Global, Borduas explicitly challenged the authority of the Catholic Church, described Quebec's government as corrupt, and characterized French Canadians as a small people held in a state of slavery by their own fear of the outside world. Instead of living this way, Borduas called on French Canadians to reject authority, embrace their sub-conscious impulses, and live spontaneously. They should, he said, abandon their old culture and create a new one based on emotion, sensuality, and what he called "magic".

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