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City, Regeneration, Redevelopment and Waste, ACEO’s

loft_aceos_002.jpgReview of ‘City, Regeneration, Redevelopment and Waste, ACEO’s’ by Jo Derbyshire and Peter Worthington, Part of Loft Space Project, Curator Jo Derbyshire, Liverpool, England, 2007.
Written by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney.
Photographs by Tony Knox 2007.

The ‘City in Regeneration, Redevelopment and Waste, ACEO’s’ was conceived in collaboration with Jo Derbyshire and Peter Worthington at the ‘Loft Space’ between 4 March 2007 – 10 March 2007. It consisted of a large collection of small ‘ACEO’s’, which are small reproductions of different local, national and international artists work.

In the environment of the ‘Loft Space’, these had been presented around the four low perimeters on white card in groups of about four with the artists names printed next to them. On one main wall, there was an installation of one image, which was shown reproduced several times from large to small on presented on an angular line of gradation. This was a visual representation of the process of taking art from its original source and the reductivism of how art is reproduced and becomes the dimensions of the ACEO’s.

To understand more the objectives to this exhibition, Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney interviewed Jo Derbyshire, who in association with Peter Worthington conceived the idea to present this mass reproduction of the art work.

Sweeney: What are ACEOs?

Derbyshire: Art Cards Editions and Originals. They are 2.5 x 3.5 in miniature cards. I think the original purpose of this art form was to share pieces of artwork with others, while promoting the artist

Sweeney: Where did the concept originate?

Derbyshire: They are popular in the USA, but some claims are laid to them being used from around 1996 by a Swiss artist

Sweeney: Whose are the artists who have contributed images? In addition, how was they selected?

Derbyshire: Eddie Lyons, Alison carling, peter Worthington, John Bridson, Jo Derbyshire and others from the South Bohemia Art Gallery. Alison who produced the ACEO’s through her printing Business Boho Dolls, selected the work for the exhibition. My job was to make sure they kept with them I set ‘When the City speaks’.

Sweeney: Are the images varied in the collection of ACEOs exhibited or is there a common theme?

Derbyshire: The theme surrounds the theme I set in place for everyone when the city speaks. Images are produced in ACEO format of regeneration, Liverpool icons like the Beatles and scenes from Sefton Park. There are miniature photographs alongside miniature painting prints

Sweeney: How did you and Peter curate the ACEOs in the space and why did you choose the style of the presentation to show them?

Derbyshire: Peter did not curate but I asked Alison Carling who works at the south bohemia gallery to get some ACEO images together they also asked me for some images of various Liverpool scenes and I know artist like John and Edie had various images of Liverpool Icons

Sweeney: How do the ACEOs in the context of the Loft Space relate to each other?

Derbyshire: The common them was Liverpool and how we see it and what we would put in a trading card/small piece of art, which essentially what ACEO’s are. I went for photographs of regeneration and change, Alison went for urban landscapes, Peter included some of his pastels of the city, Eddie and John used cultural icons as their imagery. They work together as these various layers of Liverpool and Liverpool’s culture are presented.

Sweeney: The ACEOs seem to have a commercial relevance in the distribution of art? How does this relate in their design, function and purpose?

Derbyshire: They are small affordable pieces of art and each one essentially is a limited edition print 1-50 so they are collectable

Sweeney: Does the commercial nature of the ACEOs relate to the urban context of the space? If so, how?

Derbyshire: It does not really but no one else seems to be using them as a collectables in the city at the moment although in the states and on the internet there are websites set up about them. I know the MA By Creative Practice Class who will have their exhibition in South Bohemia on 25th May this year will be utilising ACEOs as a marketing tool and a limited edition run of 12 will be printed and on sale on the opening night so I think they will catch on.

Sweeney: What feed back have you have on this current exhibition? Both positive and negative, if any?

Derbyshire: Positives we have a resident poet who is publishing a book of his poems that come from this, people like the alternative type of space. Negative is that I feel people in art circles in the city are either becoming apathetic or elitist and not many people form the Liverpool art scene have visited the space yet on a positive note again some Liverpool a students have and I have had visitors from London, Japan, Edinburgh, Leeds, Italy and the USA. People have also come along as they are aware of my website and the Transvoyeur website and we are getting visitors from the local music scene, writing scene, more so than local artists. People like the space, because it is different and true to the residential setting, it is not just a house housing art as a renovation project incorporating elements of around 1905 when the house was built is going on, and that was a lot of research on my part.

Sweeney: Would you do this type of exhibition again and why?

Derbyshire: I would definitely plan it differently but with any project things never go according to plan. We will see though, watch this space. I am proud of the fact it has been a truly independent piece not funded by anyone, not rich benefactor in the background, no people in the know who have championed the whole exhibition and it has run successfully without this to me that epitomises the idea of when the city speaks it is like lifting the layer off a part of everyday life that can be ignored or forgotten but is very much there.

The idea behind the ACEOs was interesting and how art can be available and distributed in terms of socio-economic structures of a place, making it accessible and affordable to the broader social groups in society. This is a re-invention to the function of the image in terms of mass marketing too. The reduced art comparable to how iconic images, such as Mona Lisa by Da Vinci, Monet’s flowers, etc., are reproduced on an array of consumer items. In terms of curatorial relationship to the nature of the Loft Space, it would have been interesting to see the mass reproduction of the art images correlated more with the theme and parameters of the space, as the presentation imbued more a commercial platform with the regimental lines of small collections around the perimeter.

Further information on the upcoming projects at the Loft Space, contact Jo Derbyshire (Curator of Loft Space Project) on or 07946353251. Viewing is by appointment (

The next series of exhibitions are:

11 March 2007- 17 March 2007
Nietzsche’s Urbanised Icon by Gaynor Evelyn Sweeney and Tony Knox.

18 March 2007 – 24 March 2007
Social Commentary on Urban Space, Place Within by Rob Davies.
When the City Speaks (Performance in the Room) by Laura Baxter.

25 March 2007 – 31 March 2007
Liverpool and Cologne by Natalie Bennett and Tony Smith.

Book Launch (tbc).