Material Correspondence Method: a practice-based research on embodied experiences of Functional Somatic Syndrome (FSS) and Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD) through painting.




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


This thesis is the result of a practice-based research focused on investigating subjective experiences of somatisation, particularly Functional Somatic Syndrome (FSS) and Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD) through investigations of the medium of painting. The purpose of the research primarily consists on exploring painting as an investigative tool able to address, understand and communicate embodied experiences. To achieve this, the research focuses on the development of a methodology and related body of work able to inquire about the boundaries of the painting medium, by investigating formalistic aspects of painting, particularly the construction of the surface and the juxtaposition of colour, through a mixed-media approach.

The research questions were the following: Can a painting approach be developed on the basis of explorations of embodied experiences, such as Functional Somatic Syndrome (FSS) and Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD)? Can a painting practice lead, mediate and promote self-investigations, in relation to psychosomatic conditions? The investigations are based on the memory of my own FSS health conditions, experienced in childhood; interviews of a group of young women who experienced various somatic symptoms; and questionnaires. The hypotheses are that the connection of self-explorative and introspective thinking with research practices of painting are not only possible and advantageous for the fields of material and conceptual practice in painting, but also for the wide field of arts and health sciences. In conclusion, this thesis contributes to the understanding, visualisation and communication of subjective somatic experiences.





Research Institute