Miss Stefania Laccu

Job: PhD researcher

Faculty: Arts, Design and Humanities

School/department: School of Arts, Design and Architecture

Address: De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester, LE1 9BH

T: N/A

E: p13130214@my365.dmu.ac.uk

 

Personal profile

My research is the result of a practice-based research focused on investigating the medium of painting, both as a practice and as an object, on the basis of subjective experiences of embodied conditions, particularly Functional Somatic Syndrome (FSS) and Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD). The purpose of the research is primarily two-fold. On the one hand, it consists of the development of a body of work committed to exploring the modalities by which painting can act as an investigative tool for addressing experiences of self-bodily perceptions of psychophysical states such as FFS and SSD. On the other hand, the research focus is on the establishment of a working method for investigating embodied experiences according to modalities that exceed representation-based strategies, in favour of constructing practices and critical approaches to the painting’s surface, which are able to enact subjective embodied experiences through the quality of materials and their employment. Therefore, with the term ‘enact’, I refer to my specific approach to the painting’s surface which pursues to perform the psychophysical manifestations of FFS, SSD and, more widely, embodied conditions, according to my personal experience and those of a group of women I have interviewed with a range of psychophysical conditions. To enact the embodiment phenomenon through painting, the research has been structured based on the creation of a conceptual parallelism between the ‘painting’s body’ and the somatising body. This has been achieved by employing the symptomatology of FSS and SSD, namely the array of symptoms that are characteristic of the somatisation mechanism, as parameters for constructing a creative practice for enacting the somatisation mechanism. This enactment approach required adopting a phenomenological and self-investigative perspective on both the somatising body and my personal experience as a painter, interlacing knowledge of the body with knowledge of the painting experiences. By means of this enactment approach, I have developed an advanced painting practice, the painting’s surface and a reconceptualisation of the notion of ‘medium’, which ultimately led to the development of an expanded painting’s medium theory. 

Research group affiliations

Publications and outputs 

List of selected exhibitions.

The Gallery – De Montfort University, Leicester, solo show titled Painting in-between Personhood and Objecthood, co-curated with Hugo Worthy, art curator, (2020).

David Wilson Library – University of Leicester. Solo show titled Hers, co-curated by Dr Marie Nugent, Health Matters community engagement team and the Wellcome Trust ISSF Public Engagement Scheme, and Dr Simon Dixon, Head of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Leicester, (2020).

286 Gallery – London, The Imaging & Displays Research Group (IDRG) - Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT) affiliated with De Montfort University, Leicester, curated by Professor Martin Richardson, Head of the Holography School at De Montfort University, and Jonathan Ross, Head of Jonathan Ross Hologram Collection, (2020).

Medical Humanities Building – University of Leicester, Leicester, solo show titled Mine, Yours, Ours, co-curated with Dr Nuala Morse, Lecturer and Programme Director in Museum Studies, and Dr Marie Nugent, (2020).

George Davis Centre – Leicester Medical School – University of Leicester, solo show titled Phantasmagories curated by Dr Marie Nugent, (2019).

Attenborough Arts Centre (AAC), Leicester, solo show titled Somatic Identities curated by Zoe Bromberg-Mccarthy, curator at AAC - The Balcony, (2019).

Attenborough Arts Centre (AAC), Leicester, collective show titled Destress Festival curated by G. Sian, independent curator and former Associate Director of AAC, (2018).

New Walk Museum and Art Gallery, Leicester Society of Artists (LSA) collective show curated by LSA, (2017).

Two Queens, collective show curated by De Montfort University, Leicester, (2017).

Research interests/expertise

Fine Art, Painting, Medical Humanities, Aesthetics, Medium's studies, Embodied Cognition Philosophy, Philosophy of the Mind.

Qualifications

List of research fellowships and teaching.

Visiting artist at Kyoto University of Art & Design, Kyoto, Japan, (2020-2021 to be confirmed).

Research fellowship granted by De Montfort University for the Max Plank Institute of Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt Am Main, Germany, (May – June 2020).

Co-organisation and teaching at the University of Leicester – Medical Humanities, Summer school, (June 2020).

Research fellowship granted by De Montfort University for the Max Plank Institute of History of Science, Berlin, Germany, (July – August 2020).

Awarded and publication.
Prisma International Art Prize, 1st edition, cash prize awarded for Somatic Landscapes, series no.1, (2019).

The British Psychological Society (2018). A 'DeStress Fest' in Leicester - Head to the University of Leicester's Attenborough Arts Centre. The Psychologist, Vol. no. 31, p. 85. Available from: https://thepsychologist.bps.org.uk/ [Accessed 23/12/2019].

Leicester Society of Artists (LSA) cash prize awarded for a selection of paintings from Somatic Identities series, (2017).

Honours and awards

Acquisitions.
Purchase of two paintings from the series Somatic Identities and one from the series Phantasmagories by The Innovation Centre – De Montfort University, Leicester, (2019).

Conference attendance

List of conference papers and organisation of conferences.

The painting’s body and the somatising human body, a relational space. Paper to be presented at Making Space – International Conference - The Association for Medical Humanities (AMH): Medical and Health Humanities in Practice. University of Limerick, Ireland, (June 2020).

Somatic Selves, a phenomenological approach within painting on a group of women experiencing somatic symptoms and related disorders, (2019). Paper presented at the Exeter Medical Humanities Conference, University of Exeter. [Available from ResearchGate.net].

The Formation of Psychosomatic Selves, enacting subjectivities in painting, (2019). Paper presented at the Borderline VI Conference, De Montfort University. [Available from ResearchGate.net].

Degrees of Shadow, The controversy around the construction and the communication of tacit knowledge in practice-based research, (2019). Paper presented at the Degrees of Shadow Conference, I organised and held at De Montfort University, with the participation of Professor Timothy Ingold. [Available from ResearchGate.net].

Painting In-between Personhood and Objecthood, the Premises for an Expanded Painting's Medium Theory, (2019). Paper presented at the annual conference of Association For Art History, University of Brighton. [Available from ResearchGate.net].

PhD project

PhD title

Painting in-between Personhood and Objecthood: enacting Functional Somatic Syndrome (FSS) and Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD) through painting.

Abstract

This practice-based research focuses on investigating the medium of painting, both as a practice and as an object, on the basis of subjective experiences of embodied conditions, particularly Functional Somatic Syndrome (FSS) and Somatic Symptom Disorder (SSD).

The purpose of the research is primarily two-fold. On the one hand, the research consists of the development of a body of work committed to exploring the modalities by which painting can act as an investigative tool for addressing experiences of self-bodily perceptions of psychophysical states such as FFS and SSD. On the other hand, the research focus is on the establishment of a working method for investigating embodied experiences according to modalities that exceed representation-based strategies, in favour of constructing practices and critical approaches to the painting’s surface, which are able to enact subjective embodied experiences through the quality of materials and their employment.

To enact embodiment phenomena through painting, the research has been structured based on the creation of a conceptual parallelism between the ‘painting’s body’ and the somatising body. This has been achieved by employing the symptomatology of FSS and SSD, namely the array of symptoms that are characteristic of the somatisation mechanism, as parameters for constructing a creative practice for enacting the somatisation mechanism.

This enactment approach required adopting a phenomenological and self-investigative perspective on both my own somatising body and those of a group of women, as well as my personal approach to the painting’s body, interlacing knowledge of the body with knowledge of the painting experiences. By means of this enactment approach, this thesis shows how I developed an advanced a painting practice; a breakthrough approach to the painting’s surface; and a reconceptualisation of the notion of ‘medium’, which ultimately led to the development of an expanded painting’s medium theory.

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