General Impression on the Painting
My general impression on the painting, Self-portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States, by Frida Kahlo, is that there is a huge contrast between each side of the painting. I also notice that Frida is the painted onto the portrait with the brightest colors, with this I assumed immediately it revolves around her greatly, and that is due because the painting comes from her point of view. Right away I can see which side which on the painting is, the dead giveaway is both the U.S. flag coming out of the smoke and the Mexican Flag pointed towards the other side. The U.S. side is shown to have a more industrialized and dull setting with large skyscrapers painted with bland colors such as grey and brown. The Mexican side of the portrait is shown to have more life, it has vegetation with a variety of colors. The Mexican side also has a temple showing the ancient history with Mexico, and we are shown the dolls next to skulls. The dolls are otherwise known as “fertility dolls,” show the “cycle of life” within Mexico. “Self-Portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, Mar. 2005).
From what I interpreted from the painting, I believed Frida was trying to convey her specific view on these two countries onto the painting. We see Frida standing on the border between Mexico and the U.S. and she is only holding a Mexican flag. We can interpret that Frida prefers Mexico than the U.S., we can see they had many machines there, this shows what she was conveying which is, “…to Frida, America was a place of Machines.” (“Self-Portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, Mar. 2005). The painting shows Mexico to have a more enjoyable atmosphere with a clearer cloud, natural structures on the Mexican side such as rocks, skulls, and vegetation. This express Frida’s opinion that Mexico is more in touch with life rather than machines, “…Frida contrasts Mexico’s industrialized northern neighbor with the natural surroundings of her homeland. (“Self-Portrait on the Borderline Between Mexico and the United States.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, Mar. 2005).
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The elements of Surrealism I interpreted from the painting is the Sun and the Moon, both going against one another, but at the same time neither one of them can go through the day without the other as they are both needed. I think this shows life and death or happiness and sadness that is needed in life, if not then it was in Frida’s life. (Frida Kahlo, Biography, Bio, Diego Rivera, www.fridakahlofans.com/essay.html.). We see the indigenous piece of art with Frida standing on the border holding a Mexican flag, this shows that no matter where she is, she will always know where her true home is at. The similarities that play together with Surrealism and indigenous is Frida herself standing on the border with a Mexican flag, this shows Surrealism, her subconscious thoughts express her struggling to not be with Mexico.
I think Frida’s motivation behind the painting is to show that Mexico is overall a better place to her than the United States. There is much conflict between the U.S. and Mexico in this painting. Frieda obviously supports Mexico with her putting much more detail and enriching colors on Mexico’s side. I think Frieda being married to a famous man did not affect her work much, rather it helped her advance as he supported her greatly. (“Frida Kahlo.” Biography.com, A&E Networks Television, 9 Mar. 2018, www.biography.com/people/frida-kahlo-9359496.”). I believe that in her painting the bright pink dress might show the relevance to her being married to somebody famous, she does not paint herself in bight dresses in her other paintings.
I do agree that this piece of art is an important piece. It’s important, because this artwork shows the point of view from a truly artistic person. We see the contrasts between the U.S. and Mexico, from someone who is from Mexico but left to reside in the U.S. for a little bit. We see just how homesick Frida was in her lifetime. We also see the culture behind the Mexican people of how they follow an agriculture life and how they view the U.S. and their industrialization. Frida looked down upon it, therefore it’s so important we see just how others view our country.