Elinor O’Donovan


Elinor O’Donovan


Elinor O’Donovan (b.1995) is a multidisciplinary artist based in Cork, Ireland. 

Her practice references internet memes, cartoons, and film and tv tropes. Through playful sculpture, collage, drawing and installations, she teases out the ways that familiarity with common tropes in popular culture allows us to form cognitive shortcuts, influencing how we understand the world around us. 

Drawing on theatre set-design, she examines the dichotomies of front-stage/back-stage, public/private space, and audience/performer. She often chooses to leave the raw materials of her work exposed, questioning what value remains when a work of art is sketchy and unformed.

O’Donovan received her BA from Edinburgh College of Art in 2019, and has since participated in residencies and exhibitions in Ireland, the UK and Europe. 


Commissioned by Notes to Cork while Ireland was in lockdown, Windows was an exhibition on billboards around Cork City. Responding to the absurdity of internet meme humour, the billboards were created to spread humour and positivity around Cork City in a series of interventions in public space. 

Elinor said:

“I was really drawn to the idea of using advertising space to display my work, not just because it is an exciting way of exhibiting when art galleries are closed, but because it is also a way for me to take the work I make out of the computer, out of an online space, and translate it into a physical, public space. A meme only becomes a meme through its countless sharing by internet users – it wholly depends on the intangible communities that are created by the people who enjoy it. I hope, then, that this exhibition will have a positive effect on the people of Cork City, that it will create a sense of community between those who see it and enjoy it, and that it will act as a signal of brighter days to come for us all.”