David Vostell

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David Vostell
Retrato de David Vostell 2009.jpg
David Vostell, 2009
Background information
Birth name Santiago David Vostell
Born (1960-10-10) 10 October 1960 (age 56)
Cologne, West Germany
Occupation(s) Composer, music producer
Instruments Piano, keyboard, synthesizer

David Vostell (born 10 October 1960 in Cologne) is a German-Spanish composer and film director.


David Vostell is the first child of Wolf Vostell and his Spanish wife Mercedes Guardado. His father and his father’s art have formed his view of the world from his earliest childhood onwards. The artistics movements of the 1960s and the early 1970s as well as his father’s circle with people as Nam June Paik and Allan Kaprow, with whom he often sat together as a teenager, marked him deeply.

From 1977 until 1980 he made apprenticeships at the TV and radio station Sender Freies Berlin, as well as at the publicity agency TBWA in Frankfurt am Main. He worked as an assistant cutter, as a film projectionist, in a photolab, in a photostudio and as photographer. In 1979, together with some of his former school mates, he made 36574 Bilder (36574 pictures), an experimental film in Super 8. In 1980 he shot the documentary Endogen Depression about the making of an Installation by Wolf Vostell.

In 1982 he shot the short film Ginger Hel starring Mark Eins, founder of the band Din A Testbild, and with the actress Panterra Hamm. The film tells a bizarre love story set in the Berlin underground movement. In Norse mythology Hel is the name for both the netherworld and its goddess. This allusion to mythology is conveyed in some scenes of the film by the roles of the actors as they blur into mythological figures. From his early short films onwards, his special affinity for music is in evidence. The film is marked by long, rhythmic passages of music, long shots and action and dialogue between the actors which are reduced to elementary scenes. This creates an idiom in which the music accompanies the scenes and is on equal terms with the images.[1]

In the years between 1985 and 1989, he produced 8 music videos. David Vostell’s music videos are far from the technical perfection of music videos of the 1980s. His music videos are an experimental mixture of pictures and music. Blurred, uneasy and repetitive shots form a characteristic trait with a style of its own, which breaks with all conventions.[2][3]

In 1990 David Vostell directed the feature film The Being from Earth in Los Angeles. This feature, with German title Das Wesen der Erde, tells the fantastic story of a being / creature, a mixture between animal and plant, born out of the sands of the Mojave desert. The film title alludes mainly to this being born from earth, but it can also be seen as a metaphor. In its metaphorical sense, it could refer to the state of the planet Earth, to its being or to existence itself. Long camera takes, scenes which are designed to show the acting pared down to the essential, dialogues only as necessary and lots of music show his individual directing style, but often leave the cinema audience puzzled. The Being from Earth differs strongly from the conventional view of cinema.[4][5]

The Being from Earth, just like the short film Ginger Hel, is an extremely enigmatic film. It asks the question Why again and again, but very rarely comes up with an answer. The viewer's expectation of finding a clarifying, conventional narrative structure quickly gives way to the search for insight. But even this is difficult to find. Various interpretations of the action are possible and it is probably meant to be that way. The film develops its own obscure dynamic. The Being from Earth appears to invite the viewer to let themselves drift and to recognise perfection in life and in film as an impossible idea. The being in the film is extremely passive. It does not bite, nor does it eat or kill. In character it can be compared with the being in Eraserhead by David Lynch. After the premiere on 8 December 1991 in the Babylon cinema in Berlin, Lars Olav Beier wrote a review of The Being from Earth in the magazine Tip Berlin number 25 / 1991.[6]

In 1992 the documentary Vostell 60 - Rückblick 92 (Vostell 60 - Review 92) about Wolf Vostell’s retrospective in Cologne was created under his artistic direction. In 1995 he worked on a series of drawings, sketching his cinematic visions, which led to the publication of the Sketch Book 95 / 96 and Sketch Book 97 / 98. After Wolf Vostell’s death in 1998, David Vostell took responsibility for his father’s legacy. From 1998 until 2001 he organised the Wolf Vostell Archive and gave it a chronological order.[7]

Since 2002 David Vostell has worked as a composer in Spain. In 2003 he created the Symphony Nº 1 and in 2004 the Symphony Nº 2. In 2005 he composed Formulas of Life. 24 suites associated with 24 key words, such as birth, love and dream. The digital booklet accompanying the CD shows all 24 words as digitally visualised photomontages which are linked to his compositions.[8]

In 2006 David Vostell composed The Universe is Music. The soundtrack for the video sequences of faraway galaxies transmitted by the Hubble space telescope. The digital booklet accompanying the CD shows 26 digital photomontages, visualising travel in time and the search for alien life forms in the universe in a concrete way. In 2012 he composed the music for Iris Brosch´s video In Paradisum.


  • 1979: 36574 Bilder
  • 1980: Endogen Depression
  • 1982: Das Porträt
  • 1992: E.d.H.R.
  • 1982: Ginger Hel
  • 1985: Homo Sapiens
  • 1985: Lost in Life
  • 1985: She is so nice
  • 1985: Tutila
  • 1986: Cabala Músíca
  • 1986: Blue way in
  • 1987: Blood and Cocee
  • 1989: Coma Amazonica
  • 1990: The Being from Earth
  • 1991: Bestia Pigra
  • 1992: Vostell 60 - Rückblick 92


  • 2003: Symphony Nº 1
  • 2004: Symphony Nº 2
  • 2005: Formulas of Life (24 suites)
  • 2006: The Universe is Music (Soundtrack)
  • 2007: Influences (10 suites)
  • 2008: EEM / Erotic Enlightenment Mythologies (9 suites)
  • 2009: Voyage inside the human body (Soundtrack)
  • 2009: Voyage - human body (7 suites)
  • 2010: Prélude (Soundtrack)
  • 2010: Serotonin (10 suites)
  • 2011: Room (7 suites)
  • 2012: My mind (13 suites)
  • 2012: In Paradisum (Soundtrack)
  • 2012: Die Regen Göttin (Soundtrack)
  • 2013: Women & Nature near Extinction (Soundtrack)
  • 2013: Solid (8 suites)
  • 2014: Lone Ride (6 suites)
  • 2014: Karma-Base, Volume 1
  • 2015: Cruising at night (Soundtrack)
  • 2015: Beautiful Earth (Soundtrack)

Digital photomontages[edit]

  • 2005: Formulas of life (24 works)
  • 2006: The Universe is Music (26 works)
  • 2007: Influences (10 works)
  • 2008: EEM / Erotic Enlightenment Mythologies (9 works)
  • 2009: Voyage - human body (7 works)
  • 2010: Serotonin (10 works)
  • 2011: Room (7 works)
  • 2012: My mind (13 works)


  • TIP Berlin Magazin, Nr.25 / 1991, Bericht von Lars Olav Beier, The Being from Earth.
  • Anja Oßwald: Steiner Art Tapes. Ars Nicolai, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-89479-049-0.
  • Filmjahrbuch 1995, von Lothar R. Just, Heyne Verlag. ISBN 3-453-08130-7.
  • Fischer Film Almanach 1995, Fischer Verlag. ISBN 3-596-12762-9.
  • Das Heyne-Lexikon des Science-Fiction-Films von Ronald M. Hahn und Volker Jansen. Heyne, München 1994. ISBN 3-453-11860-X.
  • Michaela Nolte: David Vostell, Sketch Book 95 / 96, Berlin 1996.
  • David Vostell, Sketch Book 97 / 98, Berlin 1998.
  • David Vostell Biografie / Recopilation 1978 - 2008 von Michaela Nolte, nivel88 Verlag. ISBN 978-84-612-2941-3.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ David Vostell Biografía / Recopilación 1978 - 2008 by Michaela Nolte, 2012
  2. ^ [1] Coleccion Wulf Herzogenrath
  3. ^ [2] Coleccion Museum Ludwig, Cologne
  4. ^ David Vostell Biografía / Recopilación 1978 - 2008 by Michaela Nolte, 2012
  5. ^ TIP Berlin Magazin, Nr.25 / 1991, Bericht von Lars Olav Beier, The Being from Earth
  6. ^ David Vostell Biografía / Recopilación 1978 - 2008 by Michaela Nolte, 2012
  7. ^ Michaela Nolte: David Vostell, Sketch Book 95 / 96, Berlin 1996
  8. ^ [3] CDs and Digital photomontages, 2005 - 2012