Volker Döhne: Rathausplatz, 1996
The photograph "Rathausplatz" (Town Hall square) is part of the series Köln am Dom, (Cologne, at the Cathedral) which Volker Döhne created in 1996. The linking element of the photographs which were taken in various places in the city is a view of the cathedral. Döhne never took close-up shots, positioning the famous church as the central element of the image, instead it is mostly seen in the background, at times only the two towers can be recognized in the multi-faceted city-scape. The tallest building in the city, located centrally beside the main station, an important monument of art and church history, a tourist magnet and a source of identification for the citizens of Cologne, it appears as if by chance in Volker Döhne’s documentary studies.
Thus in the photo "Rathausplatz", the so-called Spanische Bau (Spanish Building), a construction built in the 1950s as part of the Cologne Town Hall complex, is the dominating element of the picture. Two parts of the building meet in a sharp angle, regular rows of windows, often found in the architecture of the 1950s, subdivide the façade. On the forecourt there is a row of flower tubs in a casual sequence, which add a dynamic note to the composition. Above the roof of the Spanish Building you finally notice the spires of the two cathedral towers. If you did not know anything about the spatial circumstances of the city, you could imagine that the cathedral is closer to the Town Hall than it is in reality.
In his series of photographs Köln am Dom Volker Döhne investigates the urban space, he plays with perspectives, visual axes and proportion. He changes his standpoint and thus gets closer to city structures in which great historical events as well as everyday needs and the various life plans of the inhabitants are reflected and concentrated.
Die Photographische Sammlung/SK Stiftung Kultur