Tata Ronkholz


In her work, Tata Ronkholz (1940, Krefeld – 1997) shows elements of urban architecture, which due to their transient nature turn the photographs into valuable historical documents.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 anymore. 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 Struth and Ronkholz created a unique historical document, which also received great recognition from the city of Düsseldorf.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.


Born 1940 in Krefeld, Germany.

Died 1997 in Cologne, Germany.


1961 – 1965

Studies Architecture and Interior Architecture, Werkkunstschule Krefeld, Germany

1966 – 1977

Works as freelance product designer

1977 – 1978

Studies at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Germany (first photographs of industrial sites)


Studies Photography at Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, Class of Prof. Bernd Becher

(first photographs of ‘Trinkhallen’, stores, interior spaces, started documentation

‘Rheinhafen Düsseldorf’ in collaboration with Thomas Struth)

Selected Solo Exhibitions


Sheroes of Photography Part II: Tata Ronkholz, Kicken Berlin Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany


Rheinhafen Düsseldorf – Photographien von Tata Ronkholz, Grisebach, Düsseldorf

Eine Auswahl, Museum Kunstarchiv Kaiserswerth, Düsseldorf


Tata Ronkholz: Trinkhallen und mehr, Museum DKM / Stiftung DKM, Duisburg, Germany

Tata Ronkholz. Trinkhallen, Coffee Lounge, Cologne, Germany


Tata Ronkholz, Conzen am Carlsplatz, Düsseldorf, Germany

2012 – 2013

Tata Ronkholz Trinkhallen, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany


Tata Ronkholz. Photographien 1978 – 1985, Galerie Michael Wiesehöfer, Cologne, Germany


Tata Ronkholz. Fotobilder, Galerie Imago, Cologne, Germany


Tata Ronkholz. Fotobilder, Fotodokumentation Rheinhafen Düsseldorf – Innenräume, „Linie“ Galerie, Moers, Germany


Tata Ronkholz, Landesmuseum Münster, Münster, Germany


Rheinhafen Düsseldorf. Tata Ronkholz und Thomas Struth, Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany


Tata Ronkholz. BeauGrenelle – ein modernes Wohnviertel in Paris, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle, Munich, Germany


Tata Ronkholz. New Yorker Straßen, P.S.1, New York, USA

Selected Group Exhibitions


Sheroes of Photography Part V, Kicken Berlin, Charlottenburg, Berlin, Germany

Body|spaces, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany

Sheroes of Photography Part I, Kicken Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Subject and Object. Photo Rhine Ruhr, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf, Germany

The Photography Show, Kunsthandel Jörg Maass, Berlin, Germany

2018 – 2019
Doing the Document. Photographs from Diane Arbus to Piet Zwart, The Bartenbach Donation, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany


Bernd, Hilla and the Others / Photography from Düsseldorf, Amsterdam, Netherlands


Photographs Become Pictures. The Becher Class, Staedel Museum, Frankfurt/Main, Germany


Everything happens somewhere – Landschaftsstrategien, Galerie Thomas Zander, Cologne, Germany

In Deutschland. Reloaded (I): curated by Klaus Honnef, Kicken Gallery, Berlin, Germany

Transiciones, Toluca Fine Art, (PhotoEspaña Festival), Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain

Der typologische Blick – Ausstellung für Hilla Becher, Die Photographische Sammlung/ SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne, Germany

Studenten der Becher Klasse 1974 – 1985, Ex AdA – Außenstelle der Akademie, Düsseldorf, Germany


Quadrinnale Düsseldorf, Athena Foundation, Düsseldorf, Germany

Backdoor Fantasies, KAI 10 – Raum für Kunst, Düsseldorf, Germany


Der rote Bulli, Stephen Shore and the new Düsseldorf Photography, NRW-Forum Kultur und Wirtschaft, Düsseldorf, Germany


best of – Blick in die Sammlung, Die Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne, Germany

Gabriele & Helmut Nothhelfer, Wilhelm Schürmann, Tata Ronkholz, Thomas Struth, Joachim Brohm, Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne, Germany


Lubo Laco, Maria Maier, Harold Chapman und Tata Ronkholz. Fotografie, Kunstmuseum in der Alten Post, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany


Joachim Brohm. Bonus: Tata Ronkholz, Frehrking Wiesehöfer, Cologne, Germany


Düsseldorfer Fotografinnen, Bahnhof Eller, Düsseldorf, Germany


22 Fotografinnen, GEDOK at the Galerie am Schloß Brühl, Brühl, Germany


22 Fotografinnen, Ein Querschnitt zeitgenössischer Fotografie, GEDOK, Cologne, Germany


Work by Young Photographers from Germany, Art Galaxy, New York, USA

1980 – 1981

Traveling exhibition of the AÖFS in Munich, Essen, Cologne, Germany and Zurich, Switzerland


Galerie ERG, Brussels, Belgium (with Thomas Schütte and Achim Tiffert)


In Deutschland. Aspekte gegenwärtiger Dokumentarphotographie in Deutschland, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, Germany

Schlaglichter. Junge Kunst aus dem Rheinland, Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, Germany

Selected Bibliography


Lippert, Werner / Schaden, Christoph (Ed.): Der rote Bulli. Stephen Shore und die Neue Düsseldorfer Fotografie. exh. cat., NRW Forum, Düsseldorf, Germany, p. 48, 146-151, 278.


Städtische Häfen (Ed.): Düsseldorf. Stadt und Hafen, Düsseldorf, Germany

Düsseldorfer Fotografinnen, exh. cat., Bahnhof Eller, Düsseldorf, Germany


Camera Fotomagazin, 59.n. 5, May1980.

Kunstforum International, n. 40/1980.

Kunstforum International, n. 41/1980.


Kunstforum international, n. 32/1979, In: Deutschland. Aspekte gegenwärtiger Dokumentarfotografie, exh. cat., Rheinisches Landesmuseum, Bonn, Germany

Public Collections

LVR, Landesmuseum Bonn, Germany

Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany

Photographische Sammlung / SK Stiftung Kultur, Cologne, Germany

Stadtmuseum Düsseldorf, Germany

Kunstmuseum in der Alten Post, Mülheim an der Ruhr, Germany

Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Germany






Enquire about this work