Vinca Petersen is best known for her seminal photo essay No System. Published to great acclaim in 1999, it tells the story of a10-year personal journey travelling between the UK and Europe, staging illegal raves and festivals. Her imagery offer a window onto what was an otherwise highly secretive and closed tribe. Living within the rave community, rather than simply documentingtheir activities, legal or otherwise. Her diaristic imagery of the parties and the communities on both sides of the Channel are rawand intimate, but often sublime. It is an utterly singular coming of age story created amidst a moment of huge political upheaval. For anyone feeling a little nostalgic for the base heavy throb when approaching a live music venue or a packed dance floor, herimagery will help to soothe.
“Vinca Petersen is a photographer, installation, multimedia, and performance artist who works in the area of social practice. All of her works, including her photography, emerge from her deep social and political engagement with underrepresented communities in order to give them a voice and recognition”.
– Dr Mark Bartlett
No System was made with Steidl in 1999: Petersen remains the youngest female artist ever to work with the legendary publisher Gerhard Steidl – and certainly the only artist to persuade him to release their book below cost price, so that the subjects of her photographs could afford it. Such stories are entirely characteristic of Petersen’s project: of enabling the improbable, or seemingly impossible to take place, through inspiring faith in her singular talent, and her exceptional good grace in the world. No System is to be re-released in a new edition. In 2019 it was included in one of the first ever displays of photobooks at Tate Modern; Petersen was one of only five UK artists to feature in the entire Tate Modern displays at that time. It is a landmark publication, work from which was immediately acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum for the UK National Collection of Photography, and which has subsequently been acquired by Martin Parr Foundation.