In her work, Tata Ronkholz (born in Krefeld in 1940, died in 1997) shows elements of urban architecture, which due to their transient nature turn the photographs into valuable historical documents. Along with Thomas Ruff, Candida Höfer and Thomas Struth, Ronkholz was among the first students of Bernd Becher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Even before she began to study with Bernd and Hilla Becher in 1978, she made her first black and white photographs of industrial sites, which she took with a view camera only during the winter months, so the vegetation would not cover up the structure of the gates.
Ronkholz’s perhaps best known and most extensive series is Trinkhallen: kiosks and small shops around the corner that are witnesses of social neighbourhoods and vernacular cultures, which mostly do not exist any more. Ronkholz found her characteristic subjects in Cologne, Düsseldorf, Bochum, and parts of the Rhineland. The artist commented: “I was neither interested in the social aspect nor in the design, but felt drawn to the everyday. I wanted to show the kiosk around the corner in all its amiableness.”
Together with Thomas Struth, Tata Ronkholz documented a part of the port of Düsseldorf between 1978 and 1980, shortly before it was pulled down. Struth and Ronkholz created a unique historical document, which also received great recognition from the city of Düsseldorf. In 1979 the artist took part in the seminal exhibition “In Deutschland“ at the Rheinisches Landesmuseum in Bonn.
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