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'identity' precisely as a matter of 'modernity' (174, 365), but what are
the constituents of these two concepts? Certainly liberation is fore-
most, but also construction on behalf of the collectivity, both overtly
key notions of the Quiet Revolution. Indeed, in an article published in
1969, Jean Sarrazin describes the then-present state of Quebec: 'Ainsi,
à vingt ans de distance, au cri libérateur de contestation globale de la
société québécoise lancé par Borduas, répond aujourd'hui un mouve-
ment positif, non plus de contestation permanente mais de construc-
tion permanente d'un art pensé et conçu spécialement dans ses
rapports avec la société du Québec en évolution dynamique' (275-6;
Thus, at twenty years distance, to Borduas's liberating call for a total
contestation of Quebec society, there responds today a positive move-
ment, not of permanent contestation but of permanent construction of
an art considered and conceived specially in its relationship to a
Quebec society in dynamic evolution). His words of collective con-
struction are echoed by those of Gilles Marcotte, who links them to the
very notion of 'modernity': 'Qu'est-ce que la modernité, sinon la con-
science du mouvement et celle que, sous les apparences se cache une
réalité qui est toujours à découvrir … que tout est à faire, tout à dire,
tout à inventer … la fondation d'une parole qui prenne en charge les
besoins et les désirs de la collectivité.' (12; What is modernity if not the
consciousness of movement … that, beyond appearances lies a reality
ready to be discovered … that everything can be done, stated, invented
... the foundation of a message that takes account of the needs and de-
sires of the collectivity.)
In fact, each of the works in this chapter involves a path from self-
discovery to self-construction via self-representation on behalf of the
individual and the community. 38 Moreover, the very fact that each work
has exacted several different, sometimes contradictory, readings sug-
gests the notions of openness and plurality that will come to charac-
terize the concept of identity for future generations, along with the
persistent notion of contradiction. In essence, for identitary progress
to occur, contradiction must be understood and embraced, 39 not as the
exclusionary terms of a static antithesis but as the dynamic compon-
ents of a dialectical process, whereby a transcendent third term de-
fines a new dimension of culture, creating a new synthetic space as in
Baudelaire's celebrated forest, 'vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté'
(vast like night and daylight) or a broader place as with Markham's
wider circle that takes in the heretic whose smaller circle would shut
out others. 40
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