Located in the heart of Karlsruhe, Germany. A vibrant cultural city in the border triangle of Germany, Switzerland, and France. DCS CONTEMPORARY produces exhibitions, publications, discursive, and learning experiences to forge an interpretive understanding of local and global phenomena in art and society.

The gallery works with talented local and global artists of renowned stature and offers spaces to young artists it considers promising. We support our artists in dynamic exhibitions and projects and pay special attention to our audiences and clients’ intellectual and aesthetic interests. Creating bridges between artists and art passionate.

With over 20 years of experience in the arts, Founder and Director Dr. Dana Corina Schmidt embrace diasporic voices, utilizing the space as a platform for exhibitions, museum visitations, public lectures, performing arts, new media. As well as a meeting point for artists, curators, scholars, and writers.

Contemporary Art Gallery

Karlstrasse 43, 76133 Karlsruhe
E: gallery@dcscontemporary.com www.dcscontemporary.com

Alejandro Diaz Grova

Alejandro Diaz Grova

THIS FOOTBALL IS NOT A FOOTBALL.

When René Magritte (1898-1967) in 1929 painted a pipe and added his famous sentence: “Ceci n´est pas une pipe” he provoked us all to think about “fake news” even when this word did not exist.

Do we see a football, or do we not see a football?
When the Renaissance in the Trompe-l´oeil-Style showed us buildings in 3 dimensions on a 2-dimension painting they fooled us with fake news. Or did they? Any work of art is by nature fake news. The painting of a football is not a football. You cannot play with it. But art provokes us to think, maybe even to act. Art does not claim to represent the truth. Art is per definition subjective..maybe a vision,maybe a provocation, but it is always a combination of truth and fake.

Alejandro Diaz Grova is not only painting a football. Alejandro Diaz Grova is also painting with a football. Alejandro Diaz Grova is interpretating the world with a football.

But the football is not a football. Maybe it is a stone. A heavy and hard stone as a burden on your shoulders, a stone not only in your shoe but in your life. Or it is the solid, unbreakable stone, a ground stone to build your life on.

Football has been and is the centre in the life of Alejandro Diaz Grova, but he is offering it to us. He is handling it in different ways and handling it over to us.

Art is the enemy of Fake news because art is a subject, art has an identity, art has a soul. Art is not just an object; art is not just a football. We can only communicate with art, with the football because we are subjects. Art is in its expression “ omnia mea mecum porto”,bringing its whole identity into this expression, into this football. And we communicate with art as “omnia mea mecum porto”, meeting art with our whole identity.

We are playing with the football, even when it is not a football. The painting is a piece of art provoking us to think, to reflect, and to look upon the world with open eyes.

Alejandro Diaz Grova is dribbling with the football, inviting us into the game.

Tom Hoyem.
Karlsruhe March 2024.
Director for the European Schools in Oxford, Munich and Karlsruhe, 1987-2025.
Member of the Karlsruhe town council since 2004.
Minister for Greenland in the Danish government 1982-1987.
Election observer worldwide 1996-till date.

From Uruguay to the Universe, through the art of the round ball

Alejandro Díaz Grova, an artist with an existential journey as complex as it is surprising. Born in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, in 1973, the future visual artist linked his entire existence to football (international term for soccer). A natural inclination, taking into account that the attractive country located between Brazil and Argentina has strong traditions in the field: in 1930, it was the host of the first edition of the World Football Championship (Romania was then among the 16 participating teams). After winning that supreme competition, Uruguay repeated the feat in 1950, upsetting the representative of the colossal football power Brazil, right on its own ground – Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã, the largest stadium on the Globe.

The parents of the future sportsman were Purificación Grova González, originally from the historical province of Galicia in Spain (the area that provided a considerable part of the Hispanic emigrants who arrived in Uruguay) and Duberlín Díaz. Alejandro dedicated himself to football from an early age. With innate tenacity, he progresses quickly, standing out for his impressive physique (1.98m), reaction speed (he runs 100m with the ease of an athlete), head game that quickly enshrines him as a pillar in the zonal defence area of Uruguay’s youth team. At the age of 23, he was selected in the “celestial” national team of his homeland. Soon after he signed a contract (unconfirmed) with Real Madrid, followed by three years as member of the well-known Lusitanian team F.C. Porto. Unfortunately, a series of impresario embezzlement interrupts his rise, just when his career is in full swing. Despite the adversities of fate, Alejandro Díaz Grova finds salvation through art: he conceives paintings, sculptures, even a volume of metaphorical meditations with philosophical undertones (condensing a lifelong struggle to assert his strong personality). The book was published in 2017 under the title Journey Among Stones.

As is well known, there are countless examples of connections between sports and the arts. In terms of football, the contribution to the fusion between this sport and the art of choreography seemed to me self-evident, ever since June 29, 1958 (one day after I had turned seven), when Brazil won the World Cup for the first time, beating Sweden 5:2 in the final at the Rasunda stadium in Stockholm. Even from the brief filmed sequences, difficult to procure in those years, it was discernible that the specific individual technique of the Brazilian footballers seemed related to ballet. I intuitively sensed that those quasi-dancing movements by which the footballers enchanted the ball were some sort of stylizations of the samba rhythms, encapsulated in the Brazilians’ nature. By analogy, we might speculate that the soccer played in Uruguay and Argentina carries in its genetic code something of the condensed fervour of the tango, the dance whose paternity is disputed by the two capitals on opposite banks of Rio de la Plata’s Estuary.

A.D.G.’s works are an extreme case of devotion to the soccer ball as source of inspiration and supreme symbolism. The fusion between the art-creator and the object of his adulation reaches a new stylistic level, when the painter replaces the traditional tools – brush, pencil, charcoal, pastels, etc. – through the ball itself. Colours are mixed through it, and then applied to the canvas, in a random procedure similar to abstract expressionism. I allow myself to see here the very essence of the fascination exercised by the game of football: the “round ball” becomes an aesthetic pendant of our existential unpredictability. This modus operandi looks like some sporting counterpart to Stéphane Mallarmé’s famous verse/title, “Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard” (literally: “a throw of the dice will never abolish chance”). Mirror-title, as the word hasard comes from the Arabic “al-zhar”, which means “throw of the dice”.

The enigmatic Mallarméan poem of 1897 ends with the line “Toute Pensée émet un Coup de Dés” (literally: “every thought emits a roll of the dice”). The omnipresence of the round football in the relationship of A.D.G. with the world is a constant of his visual art, whose inner springs can also be deduced from simply watching a video clip on his website https://www.alejandrodiazgrova.es/univese-collection/, filmed during a training session, where the soccer player juggles the ball, which bounces and then comes back onto his feet and head, as if it were held there by invisible duct tape. Here is also an extract from an eloquent confession of his: ”The soccer ball has marked the destiny of my life, reaching the top of the international soccer elite. At four years old I discovered the magic it has, and moving it is an art for me. I have dedicated my life to the ball, travelling the beautiful paths of work, discipline, respect, creativity and joy.”

Through his random colour combinations, Alejandro Díaz Grova transfigures into abstract pictures the infinite combinatory possibilities of the game of football. Musically, the procedure resembles the free jazz movement, launched in 1960 with the eponymous album by Ornette Coleman’s Double Quartet (significantly, the original LP package included The White Light painting by Jackson Pollock, exponential figure of abstract expressionism).

The paintings – acrylic on canvas – made by the footballer-artist (or, equally, the footballer-artist) bear Latin-sounding names evoking constellations or extraterrestrial realms: Antares, Andromeda, Caelum, Aries, Cassiopeia, Cetus, Vega, Corvus, Canopus… It’s another one of Alejandro Díaz Grova’s  idiosyncratic ways of projecting the meaning of his own existence towards the universe.

Virgil Mihaiu