ary' message of resistance, energy, liberation, solidarity, and produc-
tivity also emerges from the image.
And, if the premises of this topic hold true, so that painting and lit-
erature of the same era inform each other, then further interpretive lay-
ers may also be uncovered by examining the treatment of the tree as it
occurs, for example, in the work of Borduas's close friend, Claude
Gauvreau, himself a signer of Refus global , whose very language, ac-
cording to Gilles Marcotte, recalls that of a painter: 'le mot comme un
matériel brut, semblable à la couleur, au traits purement abstraits du
peintre' ( Les temps , 68; the words like raw materials, similar to colour, to
the purely abstract lines of the painter).
Gauvreau: Les reflets de la nuit
Some twenty years the junior of Borduas, Gauvreau first met him at an
exhibition of the painter's works in 1942, then became a regular visitor
to his studio in the company of his brother Pierre, himself a painter of
renown who would also sign Refus global . Well-versed in Freudian psy-
chology, Gauvreau saw writing, like painting, as a matter of liberating
repressed psychic energy, then interpreting its material manifestations.
His succinct definition of art was 'l'inscription d'un désir dans la
matière' (the inscription of desire in matter), to which he added that
desire is 'le besoin de la libido d'une satisfaction symbolique' ('Qu'est-ce
que l'art,' 157; the libido's need for symbolic satisfaction).
Gauvreau's first 'publishable work' (according to his 'Autobiographie,'
11), was a 'dramatic object' titled Les reflets de la nuit , which dates from
1944; it is the first work in Les entrailles , a collection of all his dramatic
work from 1944 to 1946, which was not published until 1956 in Sur fil
métamorphose . The initial stage directions (not to mention the title) recall
the setting in Borduas's Les arbres dans la nuit , which the writer may
well have seen in the painter's studio: 'Des arbres dans la nuit. Un ciel
avec de grosses étoiles. Brumeux. Des éclairages violents et variés se-
ront employés subitement pour mettre en relief les acteurs. Deux arbres
s'inclinent avec effort comme attirés l'un vers l'autre. Leurs faîtes se
touchent formant une arche. Par cette arche entre un personnage gigan-
tesque l'air plutôt épouvantable qui doit absolument être maquillé vio-
lemment avec du rouge, du vert, du bleu, du blanc, surtout du noir.'
(19; Some trees, at night. Sky with huge stars. Foggy. Violent and varied
flashes should be used to suddenly reveal the actors. Two trees lean
painfully as if drawn to one another. Their tops touch, forming an arch.