Baselitz described this drawing as "the depiction of a table with knots of figural motifs. Above and below landscape formation." The bulbous, knotted forms, spread over two sheets of paper in disjointed and contorted spaces, signal the artist's desire to formulate his own pictorial language. They also point to his fascination with the Mannerist painters, such as the Italians Jacopo da Pontormo and Parmigianino, as well as with what he considered "outsider" art, namely, the work of Antonin Artaud, Vincent van Gogh, and August Strindberg, for example, and the expressive visual language of the art of the insane. These nightmarish, amorphous, distorted, almost putrefying shapes express a sense of anger, alienation, disease, and decay that informed the artist's vision in the early 1960s.
Several of Baselitz's paintings of 1962—63 include similar knotted forms, which continued to populate his work throughout most of the decade, culminating in the famous Heroes series. These works mark his search for symbols and vocabulary that assert his own identity and iconography, which, at the time, expressed themselves through the introduction of disjointed fragments of the body, placed in irrational spaces. This drawing is also related to the artist's early iconoclastic texts, the Pandemonium manifestos, published in 1961 and 1962.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 264.