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Dr Steve Klee

Lecturer in Fine Art


Steve Klee is both artist and theorist with an internationally recognised expertise in aesthetics and politics particularly in relation to the work of Jacques Rancière.

Steve is both artist and theorist with an internationally recognised expertise in aesthetics and politics particularly in relation to the work of Jacques Rancière. His writing includes an influential, REF submitted, journal article for Third Text (2013), catalogue essays, as well as arts journalism. Examples include commissions for artists Aernout Mik (2011) and Freee Collective (2009).

His cross-disciplinary art practice explores this terrain also; he has worked in activist art-collectives (2010-12) and more recently produced a cycle of exhibitions and events that investigate the expressive and political capacities of performing bodies. These works include Too Prolix: A Tour Out of Time (2014) and The Dance Teacher: A Gestural Index (2016) as well as a solo show at Five Years (2015), which comprised sculptural, photographic and video components.

Klee’s research has recently incorporated a cluster of ideas associated with philosophy’s renewed interest in realism and materialism; notions at the heart of exciting developments within contemporary art. Names and terms associated with this territory include: Neo-rationalism, Xenofeminism, Object Oriented Ontology and the Anthropocene.

The relationships between realism, materialism, art and politics represent ‘live’ questions currently animating international exhibitions, publications and conferences. Klee is part of this, actively involved in relevant networks, organising symposia and delivering papers at conferences and art venues. 

Two articles on these subjects are in preparation, one under peer review with Third Text and another at the final-draft stage. His art practice is also evolving; Instruction for the Rubber Hand Illusion (2016) is a new sculpture work informed by scientific theory and recently exhibited at LAM Gallery, Los Angeles.

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Also view these in the Kent Academic Repository

Klee, S. (2013). Ranciere Against the Cuts: Activist Demands are Aesthetic. Third Text [Online] 27:177-188. Available at:
Book section
Klee, S. (2011). Training Ground; avoiding the trap of structural materialist film . in: Aernout Mik: Communitas. Gottingen Germany: Stedelijk Museum Steidl, pp. 149-158.
Klee, S. (2009). The Politics of Ambiguity . in: Spin[Freee]oza (Shop Windows and Balloons) . Amsterdam: SMART Project Space, pp. 17-24.
Klee, S. (2008). Where We Were When We Bashed The Fash . [Digital video].
Total publications in KAR: 4 [See all in KAR]
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Refereed articles in Academic Journals

  • Steve Klee (04/2013) Rancière Against the Cuts: Activist Demands Are Aesthetic, Third Text (Tailor & Francis), 12 pages/6000 words, ISSN 09528822
    Articles and chapters in edited books
  • Steve Klee (03/2011) ‘Training Ground: Avoiding the Trap of Structural/Materialist Film’in Aernout Mik: Communitas, Leontine Coelewij, Sabine Maria Schmidt & Tanja Milewsky (eds), Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, 9783869302973
  • Steve Klee (2009) ‘The Politics of Ambiguity’ in Spin[Freee]oza (Shop Windows and Balloons), Freee & Hilde de Bruijn (eds) Smart Project Space, Amsterdam, 9789080665590
  • Steve Klee (12/2007) Aernout Mik, Shifting Shifting, Afterall Online
  • Klee (05/2007) ‘The Interactor’ in Frozen Tears III, John Russell (eds), ARTicle Press, Birmingham, 187335259X
  • Steve Klee (03/2007)‘Between Two Star Systems’ in The Extra: Alexandra Navratil, Isobel Harbison (eds), Produzioni Nero, Rome

Review articles

  • Steve Klee (08/2010) The Philistine Cuckoo, an extended letter published in Art Monthly, Issue 338, in response to Dave Beech’s article Encountering Art, published in Art Monthly Issue 336 05/2010

Conference contributions

  • Steve Klee (01/2016) ‘Concepts and Objects’. I led a session of the reading group New Materialisms at Banner Repeater Gallery, London
  • Steve Klee (11/2016) ‘Realist Spectating: Time Present’, a Paper delivered at Invisible Architectures, Lesions on the Landscape, an event organised by artist Shona Illingworth, University of Kent, and Professor Jill Bennett, Associate Dean of Research, College of Fine Arts, UNSW, Whitechapel Gallery, London
  • Steve Klee (07/2016) ‘The Nemocentric Spectator’, a paper delivered at Up the Junction organised by Kirsten Cooke at ArtLacuna Gallery, London
  • Steve Klee (06/2016) ‘Science-Art: Accelerated Models of Spectating’, a paper delivered at Radical Future and Accelerationism (keynote speakers Mark Fisher and Nick Srnicek), Jagiellonian University, Krakow
  • (06/2016) Respondent at Sticky Thick: Practice as Research Day at Whitstable Biennale an event organised by myself and artists Shona Illingworth and Adam Chodzko, Whitstable
  • Steve Klee (06/2015) ‘PaR and the Performative’, a paper delivered at School of Music and Fine Art Practice as Research Day, University of Kent, Chatham
  • Steve Klee (12/2014) ‘An Inhuman Art’, a paper delivered at Realisms and Object Orientations: The Philosophy of Tristan Garcia at the ICA, London
  • Carrot Workers’ Collective (06/2010)Micropolitics of Art and Economy in the Art School Today’, a collective paper by the as part of Art Schools: Invention, Invective and Radical Possibilities, a conference organised by Naomi Salaman, at The Slade School of Art, London
  • Steve Klee (05/2008) Aesthetic Politics, a paper delivered as part of an event called Can Art Change the World? at Contact Theatre Manchester, organised by The Heretic Club and Castlefield Gallery, Manchester
  • Steve Klee (12/2007) ‘An Imposing Reality’, a paper delivered at Visible Evidence XIV the ambulatory international conference on documentary, as part of the strand When documentary goes to the galleries: on questions of aesthetics and politics. Held at the University of Bochum, Germany
  • Steve Klee (02/2007) Aernout Mik, a talk on Mik’s video politics with the Goldsmiths based Political Currency of Art (PoCA) research group, Camden Arts Centre, London
  • Steve Klee (10/2006) ‘Research Questions’, as part of Rancière Conference. Presented and was first respondent to Rancière’s keynote lecture, Goldsmiths, London

Symposia organised

  • Sticky Thick: Practice as Research Day (06/2016) at Whitstable Biennale an event organised by myself and artists Shona Illingworth, Adam Chodzko, Whitstable
  • Practice as Research Symposium (06/2015) at School of Music and Fine Art, University of Kent. I co-organised and chaired this event with artist Shona Illingworth
  • Realisms and Object Orientations: The Philosophy of Tristan Garcia (12/2014) at the ICA. Garcia was the keynote speaker. I organised and chaired this event with contributions from University of Kent colleagues within Politics and International Relations (specifically the Centre for Critical Thought), Iain Mackenzie & Ben Turner


  • Concrete Plastic (10/2016) group show at LAM Gallery, Los Angeles. I contributed a ‘kit’ of sculptural objects. Curated by Kirsten Cooke and Ann Harezlak. Other artists: Patrick Coyle, Annabel Frearson, Patricia Lennox-Boyd, Michael Bizon, Anne Guro Larsmon, Kim Schoen
  • Babak Ghazi (07/2016)a solo exhibition by artist Babak Ghazi at Acadia Missa Gallery, London. I contributed a text that was displayed in the space
  • ‘Perpetual Liquidity’ (05/2016) artist screening as part of Of the Sea, a selected group show at No 1 Smithery, Kent. I created a new performance work as well as showing a video. Selectors were: Adam Chodzko, Hannah Conroy, Kathleen Palmer, Victoria Pomery and Nicole Mollet. Other artists: Alia Pathan, Anaïs Tondeur, Anas Al-Shaikh, Daniel Wechsler, Etta Säfve & Elin Maria Johansson, Joanna Millett, Linda Persson, Sikarnt Skoolisariyaporn, and Ting-Ting Cheng
  • Concrete Plastic (04/2016) magazine project with ARMSEYE. This was a staging - in print - of the group exhibition at LAM February 2016
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place (02/2015) Solo show at Five Years Gallery, London
  • Töne Festival (06/2014) a Medway-wide event dedicated to art and audio experimentation. I contributed an ambitious site-specific performance and exhibition titled ‘Too Prolix: A Tour Out of Time’, atChatham Historic Dockyard. Curated by Claudia Molitor
  • The Overbearing Mother (08/2011) with Dylan Shipton and Ben Fitton at LIDO, Hastings. I contributed a video titled ‘Bash the Fash...’
  • Fight Education Cuts (11/2010) an event by the Carrot Workers’ Collective at the Centre for Possible Studies, Edgware Road, a Serpentine Gallery off-site initiative. This involved seminars and workshops aiming to produce counter-propaganda
  • ‘Creative Jobs Survival Fair’ (05/2009) event by the Carrot Workers’ Collective as part of the At Your Service exhibition at the David Roberts Art Foundation, London                
  • Contested Ground (01/2009) group show at 176 Gallery, London. I contributed a video. Other artists: Ben Fitton and James Porter
  • History on Film: Unreliable Witness Artists’ Film and Video (11/ 2008) a group screening at Tramway gallery, Glasgow. I contributed a video. Curated by Maxa Zoller. Other artists: The Otolith Group, Al Fadhil, Ramona Köppel-Welsh, Chris Marker and Jean-Luc Godard
  • Structures Found Structures Lost (11/2008) a group show at Five Years Gallery, London. I contributed a video. Curated by Francis Summers. Other artists: Paul B Davis and Abbe Leigh Fletcher
  • In a Manner of Speaking (07/ 2008) film & video show at Transmission Gallery, Glasgow. Curated by Lois Rowe
  • UJ KOR TARS (New Contemporary) (03/2008) a selection of international artists at Lena & Roselli gallery, Budapest. I contributed a video. Curated by Beata Veszely
  • The Unfalsified Truth of Things (11/2007) two person video show with James Porter at Gallery, London
  • Pollutant (4/2007) solo video show at Negative Gallery, London
  • Itchy Park (04/2007) a night of performance and video at Limehouse Town Hall, London. I contributed a video. Curated by Emily Wardill
  • We Have Lost the Hearts and Minds (12/2006) group show at E:vent gallery, London. I contributed a video. Curated by Reza Aramesh. Other artists: Alex Zika, Anthony Gross, Cristina Mariani, Cyril Lepetit, Dan Griffiths, George Kontos, Gian Paolo Cottino, Gordon Cheung, Goshka Macuga, Henry Coleman, Jen Wu, Lewis Amar, Redux Project, Reza Aramesh, Temporary Contemporary, the hut project, Theo Michael, Theo Prodromidis, William Hunt
  • Centrefold 5 (10/2006) a ‘scrapbook’ of artists’ work. I contributed a diagram. Curated by Reza Aramesh. Other artists: Martin Westwood, Dan Griffiths, Theo Michael, Anthony Gross, Will Hunt, Gordon Chung, Fay Nicolson, Redux Project Space, Jen Wu, Alex Zika, Axel Stockburger, Cyril Lepetit, Henry Coleman, Cyril Lepetit
  • Et Tu Tribute (04/ 2006) an evening of performance and video, The Embassy, Edinburgh. I contributed a video.
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ISteve has eight years’ teaching experience in Fine Art across Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses delivering both contextual studies content and working with students in the studio. He is a true art-generalist able to teach all media with a synthesising specialism in the relation between theory and practice, one that enables him to forge critical, capable and confident contemporary practitioners.

Currently, he leads Stage Two of University of Kent’s UG Fine Art course and contributes to MA Fine Art modules, also chairing the yearly MA/PhD student presentations.

The Stage Two lead involves convening three modules and organising all Pathway Workshops for this year group, Lens-based, Painting and 3D; he delivers the 3D sessions. In these Workshops material processes and techniques are placed centre-stage, for instance one session looks at direct carving. Such practices are shown to be theoretically informed, but also to provide a way of ‘testing’ and ‘reformatting’ conceptual thought through making.

Another module, Review & Response teaches the subject of art writing. The student produces an artists’ book containing a series of short creative texts. Again, emphasis is placed on the relationship between writing/theorising and creative practice. This module has proven particularly successful in opening students’ eyes to the possibility of text and fiction as components within visual art practice.

The content of Klee’s teaching is research led. Recent delivery has expanded upon his expertise in aesthetics and art-politics to include realist and materialist themes. In recognition of his dynamic new direction he was invited by the School of English to deliver a session on their MA in the Contemporary course, run in collaboration with the ICA (2016).

I work with both undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts and teach in the studio, lecture theatre and seminar room to deliver practical and conceptual content across all media, including: painting, sculpture/installation, digital photography and video. I also offer specialist support for Stage 1 and 2 students via conceptually led 3D workshops. Another area of expertise is curation, the theory and practice of organising exhibitions. In addition I lead a Stage 2 module on the relationship between visual art and text which teaches creative and critical writing strategies.


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Steve supervises five Practice as Research (PaR) PhD students.

Primary Supervisor

  • Steve Connolly, Spatial Cinema: Lefebvre, Spatial-production and Machine Space

This project investigates the space of Detroit through an artists’ video, and includes a thesis that develops a Lefebvrian theory of filmic representation.

  • Mike Lawton, An Irreductionist Practice: Painting & Writing after O,O,O

This project investigates painting, writing and their interrelation through the lens of Graham Harman’s Object Oriented Ontology.

  • Adam James, Larp and Socially Engaged Art

This project looks at ‘live action role play’ in relation to the discourse of socially engaged art

Second supervisor

  • Luciano Zubillaga, Film as Philosophy
  • Moyra Derby, Painting as Tableaux

As is evident Klee’s extensive knowledge of contemporary art and philosophy enables him to supervise a wide range of PhD candidates.

He particularly welcomes projects, especially PaR ones, which explore new realist theory as it pertains to contemporary art. Mike Lawton’s research covers this territory and Klee hopes to build a ‘portfolio’ of supervision in this area. 

He has also examined PhD projects, being the internal assessor on: Martin Lang, Militant Art, Department of History and Philosophy of Art, examined June/July 2015. And, he is currently part of a team evaluating: Luis R Antunes, The Multisensory Film Experience: A cognitive Model of Experiential Film Aesthetics. This project is conducted across the University of Kent’s Department of Film Studies and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Department of Arts and Media Studies. October/ongoing 2016.


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Last Updated: 23/02/2017