How Koilos, a giant monster, ended up on an Ontario island dock

By from Daily Brew

Koilos, a 900-kilogram giant sculpture by San Francisco artist Michael Christian. Andrew Cumming photo

Until recently, this 900-kilogram giant guarded Toronto’s Distillery District. Koilos sat there without Michael Christian, its creator, even realizing just how many people appreciated his steel monster.

“I didn’t realize it was appreciated so much … until we moved it and started receiving nice emails from people,” Christian wrote to Yahoo! Canada News.

The sculpture’s new home is on the dock of a Muskoka cottage, in Ontario, where its new owner’s getting some polarizing feedback from the neighbours.

“I’m blown away,” “Fantastic,” “Thank you for bringing it here for us to enjoy,” some said after spotting the giant kneeling towards the water. Others have called it “horrible,” “scary” and questioned the owner’s sanity. Some critics have warmed up to it since it arrived this May, the owner says.

In order to move Koilos, Christian and his California colleague had to disassemble him into four pieces, which were transported on a flatbed truck. Koilos was then installed on the dock of an island using a barge and a boom truck. Watch the painful process in the slideshow below.

Giant sculpture on Muskoka dock (scroll down from here to see more photos of the sculpture and its installation on the dock).

Koilos sculpture

“It looks great on the dock,” writes Andrew Cumming, the sculpture’s new owner. “I built this dock for this piece of art, so it is gratifying to me that it looks as good as I thought it would.”

Cumming told CBC that he purchased the art after noticing that Koilos was starting to show signs of wear and tear. At that point, the sculpture had already gone through a stint at Burning Man festival in Nevada and spent almost four years in Toronto. Since the Distillery District’s lease on the creature was ending, he decided to buy the monster and make a radical modification of the island’s landscape.

[ Related: Massive sculpture hauled to Muskoka ]

“The dock location is dramatic, unique, and it affords people the opportunity to enjoy it, the way public-scale art should be,” Cumming wrote of his choice. “If I put it on a farm or up on a mountain top, nobody would be able to get close to it.”

As for the artist, Christian is thrilled about the amount of attention his monster’s been getting. There’s no way to get feedback on public art, he explains, so this has been an unexpected development.

“I think it’s wonderful that people love it and hate it. It would be pretty boring if everyone had the same response,” he says, adding he hopes the sculpture hasn’t offended the viewers.

If you are still wondering about the meaning of Christian’s monster, here’s how the artist explained it to the Digital Journal a few years ago:

“It’s practically a paradox…It wants to jump but also wants to relax at the same time. It wants to contemplate, but also wants to play.”

Perhaps, its new waterside location is the perfect in-between space for it. We just hope it doesn’t give some unprepared Ontario boaters a scare one night.

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