Charles Booth-Clibborn was first made aware of Baselitz’s Remix woodcuts in 2006, when he visited the artist’s new studio in Munich. During his visit, Baselitz gave him a woodcut as a Christmas present. This was part of a series of woodcuts he had printed as presents for family and friends as well as his publishers. Over the course of the visit Baselitz showed Booth-Clibborn another five plates, each printed in different colours. Baselitz liked the idea of the variations of colour and suggested editioning a series using five different main block colours with varying background colours. As with Remix etchings, the woodblocks that Baselitz had cut were sent to Niels Borch Jensen at Vaerkstadt for Kobbertryk in Copenhagen and editioned by Mette Ulstrup. Considerable proofing was required to calibrate the colour balance between hand-coloured background and block colour. The proofing took place during the summer and autumn of 2007. Baselitz found the initial proofs too heavy with ink and wanted the block colours to be less weighty. However, the right balance was achieved immediately once Baselitz had told Borch Jensen that he wanted them to be printed ‘just like Munch’. Baselitz, Borch Jensen and Ulstrup had all recently seen a Munch retrospective at the Beyeler Foundation in Basel, which had included a number of Munch’s woodcuts. Prior to printing, each sheet was hand-coloured using thin watercolour applied with a roller. Baselitz had decided on four main block colours – blue, black, green, brown and red – and varying background colours. The final colour configurations were decided during proofing.
Booth-Clibborn had initially sourced a hand-made paper from England but Baselitz did not like the initial print trials with this paper and a Japanese paper was used instead.
The woodcut series shares some subjects with the etchings; in particular, Der Hirte and Mantel are motifs also present in the preceding series. They refer back to paintings, drawings and prints from the 1960s, grouped as the Helden or Hero images, which depicted muscular young men, often with exceptionally small heads. With their bulky yet clumsily box-like proportions, these figures were downtrodden anti-heroes rather than heroes, as Baselitz presented them with their arms open in apathetic surrender. Their tortured condition is captured succinctly in the new woodcut version of Rute or Rod, where the scene of a naked figure leaning against a tree gives the impression of the ‘hero’ burning at the stake. A similar fiery energy is felt in Partisan, where Baselitz has sketched a patch of grass evoking flames, and the trunk of the tree is more sketchily defined than is the case in earlier woodcut versions of the same subject from the 1960s. In 1966 Baselitz made a small etching entitled Das Haus, which showed a 'hero' figure resting in front of a cottage. In the Remix woodcut version of Das Haus, Baselitz has squashed a contorted figure with legs splayed into a claustrophobic rectangular space. Baselitz’s Remix paintings and drawings were marked by a reduced use of flat colour and a more pronounced immediacy of line. The series of woodcuts also reveals a new clarity and lightness of touch.