Düsseldorf artist Anna Pascher is sitting at a large table with lots of chairs in front of one of her paintings hanging on the wall behind her.

From fashion design to art – Anna Pascher on inspiration, art and Düsseldorf as a city of chance encounters


“There’s so much space right in the heart of the city.”

Anna Pascher studied fashion design at Düsseldorf’s AMD, the Academy for Fashion and Design. She then spent more than ten years running a fashion company in Berlin, before devoting herself to her second passion, art, and returning to the city on the Rhine with her family. The pictures that she has been painting since 2021 show everyday objects. Most are surrealistic tableaux of table scenes that she transforms into colourful, vivacious still lifes. Pascher experiments with different materials and surfaces, using both acrylic and oil paint on paper and canvas. When we visited Pascher’s studio in Stockum, she told us why she moved from the capital to the Rhine, how she feels about her new life in Düsseldorf and what inspires her art.

Inside the studio of Anna Pascher. A white Eames plastic armchair stands in the corner, in front of a shelf and a mood board. Part of a painting in progress is visible on the right of the picture.

Your subjects are everyday items that you portray in surrealist still lifes. What is it that fascinates you about this theme?
The table scenes are often inspired by emotional moments with my friends and my family. Sitting around a table together and talking is very precious to me. I like to play with everyday objects and abstract their forms. These days I am incorporating more and more surrealistic details in order to break free from specific representation and overcome normative perceptions.

You create your work intuitively by immersing yourself in situations. How does that work, given that you’re alone in your studio, far removed from any social interaction?
I think myself into the atmosphere, even though I don’t do much planning beforehand – I don’t know how many virtual people will be around the table, for example. It just works. It’s like having a cinema in my head, or rather a restaurant (she laughs). I think I must simply have a great deal of imagination and intuition.

You and your husband ran a fashion company in Berlin for ten years.
That’s right. My husband and I had a corporate fashion label, and we lived and worked in Berlin for ten years. We wanted to shake up the fusty world of work clothes, to make it more contemporary, and we succeeded. But three years ago, we decided to pursue other secret passions. I’ve always had an inner calling to make art, so when the coronavirus pandemic hit, I thought to myself, it’s now or never!

Anna Pascher is working on a painting.

In 2021, you and your family moved from Berlin to Düsseldorf. Why?
It was a gut decision. By that point we had two children, and we asked ourselves where we’d feel most comfortable. We both agreed that Düsseldorf, where my husband’s family is from, was the best choice. The proximity to nature, the wide open spaces along the Rhine, the short distances within the city – all of that influenced our decision. I’d already lived here for four years when I was studying fashion design at the AMD, and I also met my husband in Düsseldorf.

How are you finding life in Düsseldorf?
It’s very pleasant. I love being able to cycle into the city centre. It only takes me ten minutes, that’s a real luxury. It’s great for us that it’s so easy to get around. It means I can focus a lot better here. Everything feels more rounded, I’m very much at one with myself. Being able to indulge my passion makes me so happy that I would love to devote the whole day to it. So any chance to save time is a gift.

What has surprised you most since you moved here?
One thing that did surprise me about Düsseldorf was the way in which Ackerstrasse in Flingern has changed. When I used to live on Degerstrasse 17 years ago, there were a lot fewer restaurants, cafés and shops. But it was also nice that a lot of places were just as I remembered them: Carlsplatz square, the Hinkel bakery, the Salon des Amateurs. All those beloved, familiar places are still here, so I quickly felt at home again.

Mood board with lifestyle photos.

Düsseldorf is a city of art. How does that affect your work and your life? Do you have a gallery in Düsseldorf that represents you?
Not yet. I’m currently working with the Nuo gallery in Munich. But it didn’t take me long at all to have my first solo exhibition in Düsseldorf, at the Nails alternative exhibition space on Birkenstrasse. A lot of people came to the opening, I found the atmosphere informal and intimate. You get talking to people, you plan an exhibition – it’s all very uncomplicated. You keep meeting the same people in the street, there’s such a sociable vibe here. But it’s also enormously diverse, there’s so much on offer. And that’s only enhanced by the close connection to Cologne and by the DC Open, the Düsseldorf Cologne Open Galleries event held jointly in both cities.

What inspires you about Düsseldorf? Are there particular places where you get artistic input? Or even certain cafés or restaurants?
I love brasseries, as you can see from my work. I like to go to Brasserie Hülsmann and Brasserie Stadthaus, to the Robert and to Bar Olio. Those are all fabulous places.

Where do you go when friends come to visit?
We often go to Carlsplatz square, to do a bit of shopping and have a coffee, or some wine at a wine stall. I also really like the Heinemann café. When my husband and I first got together he took me to the Heinemann for a pot of coffee and their signature cake, a herrentorte. He knows how much I love cake. We are both confirmed Heinemann fans!

Unfinished painting on the wall of the studio.

Do you have a favorite place that you’d like to share with our readers?
The galleries on Birkenstrasse, they are all quite close to each other. I like to walk from one gallery to another, it’s very inspiring and I almost prefer it to visiting a museum. I’m very impressed by the setting of the Philara collection – and I also enjoy stopping off at the Bulle Bistro there.

Where do you head to when you want to switch off?
I love nature, that’s one of the reasons why we came here. Walking in the Rheinwiesen meadows in Oberkassel is lovely at any time of year. There’s so much space right in the heart of the city. But I also like the area behind the racecourse, that’s still something of an insider’s tip. During the week I’m often the only one there.


Interview: Ilona Marx
Photos: Markus Luigs

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