The widely disparate objects which constitute Michael Cacnio’s work have nothing in common except that they are parts of the whole art ensemble, their randomness is an essential part of this work. From a metal human figure reading a book to plumbing fixtures, found objects such as these derive their identity as art from the designation placed upon them by the artist and from the social context that comes with the object. Cacnio is a sculptor of Social Realist genre.
This may be indicated by either its anonymous wear and tear (as in the plumbing components) or by its recognizability as a consumer item (as in the toy human). The context into which it is placed is also a highly relevant factor. His body of work features tableaux of characters taken from traditional Filipino archetypes delivered in his distinct signature style, revealing enduring truths about human nature and the community. The idea of dignifying commonplace objects in this way was originally a shocking challenge to the accepted distinction between what was considered “art” as opposed to “not art”.