Theme header ILKER CINAREL - Back Lane West



Open Evening Event – Friday 7th August 2015

Exhibition open Sunday 9th & Monday 10th

Review of CLOSER by Jeanie Sinclair

“The past is not simply there in memory, but must be articulated to become memory. The fissure that opens up between experiencing an event and remembering it in representation is unavoidable. Rather than lamenting or ignoring it, this split should be understood as a powerful stimulant for cultural and artistic creativity. The temporal status of any act of memory is always the present […]”

Andreas Huyssen, Twilight Memories: marking time in a culture of amnesia 1995

How can we construct, and reconstruct our own pasts? How can that creative exploration of the gap between past and present be used to change the way we feel about it? Can we use it as a way to heal?

Cowboy Daddy is a poignant and moving re-staging of a past. Cinarel re-imagines and dramatises his memories of his father in both a way of examining the gap between past and present, and also a way of closing that gap, and a form of closure. He re-stages the past to create a dreamy, filmic version of not how his memories of his father were, but of how he would like them to be, as a process of healing. Ghosts of objects theatrically haunt the space, which is a both a film set and a stage.

Cinarel’s paintings are imagined memory fragments, storyboards of an imaginary spaghetti western, of an imaginary past where the presence of violence and an absence of love become a beautiful dreamlike sequence of film stills. The drama played out is a theatrical re-narration of Cowboy Daddy, a re-performance of the past where Cowboy Daddy and Cowboy Child have a new relationship, a new past. They go camping, ride horses, they hug.

Cinarel re-authors his memories, through haunted re-stagings that bring the ghost of his father through his words and material objects into this space in the present, in order to create a new space of archetypal love between father and son.

Jeanie Sinclair
Associate Lecturer & PhD Researcher, Falmouth University
Research Fellow, St Ives Archive

A cowboy is an animal herder who tends cattle on ranches in North America, traditionally on horseback, and often performs a multitude of other ranch-related tasks.
The English word cowboy has an origin from several earlier terms that referred to both age and to cattle or cattle-tending work.
Originally, the term may have been intended literally—”a boy who tends cows.” By 1849 it had developed its modern sense as an adult cattle handler of the American West.
Originally, the English word “cowherd” was used to describe a cattle herder, (similar to “shepherd,” a sheep herder) and often referred to a preadolescent or early adolescent boy, who usually worked on foot.
The term “cowboy” was used during the American Revolution to describe American fighters who opposed the movement for independence.
n the Tombstone area in the 1880s, the term “Cowboy” or “cow-boy” was used pejoratively to describe men who had been implicated in various crimes.
he cowboy often worked in an all-male environment, particularly on cattle drives, and in the frontier west, men often significantly outnumbered women.
Homosexual acts between young, unmarried men occurred, but cowboys culture itself was and remains deeply homophobic. Though anti-sodomy laws were common in the Old West, they often were only selectively enforced.
Beginning in the 1920s and continuing to the present day, Western movies popularized the cowboy lifestyle but also formed persistent stereotypes, both positive and negative. In some cases, the cowboy and the violent gunslinger are often associated with one another.
The cowboy is also portrayed as a masculine ideal via images ranging from the Marlboro Man to the Village People.


ILKER CINAREL was the winner of INLAND ART FESTIVAL 2014 Assemble Now, People’s Choice award of a BLW 2015 Residency.

Cinarel’s work explores the politics that surround the family through the indescribably personal prism of his own childhood tensions where hyper-macho pop culture spilled over into reality. Ilker is still trying to reconcile where he belongs within this masculine dominated culture and context.

Questioning the place of intimacy and humour within an overtly masculine context, he playfully makes visible the structures which contain societal stereotypes.

Cinarel’s investigative processes involve both aestheticizing and politicizing his personal experiences and relationship with his surroundings, raising questions that concern cultural identity and the social and political environment that he lives in. In particular, themes around men and masculinity.

The residency at Back Lane West gives Ilker the opportunity to explore the title of his latest works ‘Closer’. He is exploring how he can become closer to his father, working with his father’s self-appointed ultra ego of the cowboy. Through sexualising this persona he makes empathetic links with his otherwise confusing memories of childhood. He asks the question “did you have a cowboy daddy? ….” and how can you become closer to the cowboy?

CLOSER 2015 by Ilker Cinarel
Cowboy daddy and boy – performance film