Born in Schwerte, Germany, lives in Cologne. From 1970 to 1978 studied anthropology, sociology, theology and mathematics in pursuit of a career as a teacher. Later she studied painting at the Werkkunstschule in Cologne. Her first solo exhibitions were held at the Philomene Magers Gallery, Bonn, and Monika Spruth Gallery, Cologne, in 1983. She has gained international renown through her complex and controversial work that addresses contemporary concerns, especially those of women. "Woman" and her place in society, particularly in the microcosm of the art world, is a central theme of her work. She also challenges established theories about sexuality, culture, and artistic production. In her "knitted paintings" Trockel designs patterns on a computer that are then produced by a knitting machine. The typically female hobby of knitting is stripped of purely feminine connotations and intertwined with references to industrial and mechanical fabrication. Such familiar and recognisable symbols as the Playboy bunny, the hammer and sickle, and the Woolmark are used as provocative motifs although the meaning of these motifs is greatly reduced as they become decorative elements in repetitive schemes. Trockel's sculptures are often constructed as conglomerates of objects arranged like showcases for ethnographic or scientific study. Her references to the body and domestic activities make the sculptures especially compelling. She uses assorted materials - plaster, wood, fabric, glass, pig bladders and hair - as well as found objects to create an imagery that uses everyday associations. Her art reacts to fashionable trends while raising questions about contemporary culture and human nature.