While not among Klee’s most defining works, Affected Place is rich in symbolism. It also offers insight into Klee’s philosophy on movement and visual tension. He created Affected Place in 1922 during his second year at the Bauhaus, shortly before establishing himself on the international scene.
This painting was done with watercolour and oil on paper attached to cardboard. Its open horizon and warm gradients suggest a natural landscape, while the conflicting lines and symbols clearly place it outside the realm of nature.
The depth of the horizon is juxtaposed by the appearance of a low ceiling, part of the stark arrow that presses down on the image’s centre. The arrow is boldly painted and representative of Klee’s preoccupation with the movement of shapes and lines.
Klee states that lines are "active" and a line can "attack in two ways: It either divides the form achieved into two parts or goes further and causes a displacement, which in geological terms is called a fault..."
The arrow is illustrative of lines converging in "attack". It creates a pressure point, an accumulation of stress, accentuated by the horizontal terrestrial lines and darkening colours on the horizon.
These elements fill the image with tension. And at the centre of this stress is a displacement of coloured layers, which creates a relief and within it, disorder.
Despite being reminiscent of a sunset, Affected Place culminates in a picture of collapse under pressure. Its symbolism is glaring, a significant aspect of Klee’s art.
In his own commentary he states his belief that a drawing has to transcend simply being a drawing in order to become a symbol and the more profound its symbolism, the better.