Olena Dodatko cultivates monumental forms with great impact despite minimalist representation

Olena Dodatko: “Other World,” granite.

The Ukrainian-born sculptor loves it when her sculptures are placed in public spaces

There is very little written about Olena Dodatko on the Internet, almost none at all and only photos of monumental works. The sculptor, who grew up in the Ukraine, loves large forms in a minimalist style. She strives for a “harmonious blend of simplicity and sophistication,“ she emails in response to our question.

Regardless of whether she is depicting something concrete or something abstract: “Essentially, a stone is a block, a monolith, and the goal is to maintain that, while also hoping that people will want to touch, stroke, or hug it.“

Olena Dodatko: “Together,“ diabase.

And: “Perhaps that is why I use cylindrical or spherical shapes in my works.”

She grew up in a gray city shaped by socialism and as a child and teenager always wanted more life and liveliness around her. Today – perhaps for this reason – she is happy when her works are installed in public spaces.

Olena Dodatko: Olena Dodatko: “Expectation,” gabbro, steel.

She does not want to impose meanings on her sculptures. Although the simple form and surface should inspire the viewer to think for themselves, they should not force them in one direction. From her point of view, her works with concrete representations stand for her own self-discovery or for certain life situations, while the abstract forms tend to revolve around wishes or goals.

She emails us about her career: “Unfortunately, there were no artists in my family.“ But her parents gave her freedom and encouragement. Her father worked in the factory, and she was often allowed to visit him: “I was fascinated by the big machines shaping metal pieces.“

Olena Dodatko: “Point,“ marble.

She studied sculpture at the National Academy of Visual Arts and Architecture in Kiev.

She then traveled the world on sculpture symposia and took part in numerous exhibitions.

She does not seem to mind that monumental sculptures at a symposium are always stressful because of their size and the limited time available: “But each one is also excitement – a new adventure into which you dive headfirst.“

Olena Dodatko: “The Choir,“ cast iron.

In the email dialog, she sounds as if we have encountered her in a phase of upheaval. In response to our question about small forms, she replies that she used to occasionally take on such commissions for grave designs. Today she would do them again, but as something different.

Unfortunately, she does not have her own studio at the moment.

She has also worked with other materials such as wood or metal.

Olena Dodatko: “First Game,“ marble, and Olena.

In the end, she says: “I do know one thing for sure – when I am immersed in creating my sculptures, I feel happy.“

Whatever else comes from her: with this short portrait, there is now a little text about her on the Internet.

Olena Dodatko (Instagram, Behance)

Fotos: Olena Dodatko

Olena Dodatko.

(28.02.2024, USA: 02.28.2024)