Faktura By Wünsche, Isabel
Faktura, literally “texture,” is related to the Russian avant-garde’s preoccupation with the fundamental principles of the creative process. The term, applied to a work of art, addresses the way in which materials are used, the processes, the surrounding environment, and the artistic devices; it characterizes the textural structure of a work of art and the manner by which it was constructed. As a creative principle, it rejects a pictorial space based on perspective and the illusion of three-dimensional space projected onto a flat canvas. The Russian formalist critic Viktor Shklovsky considered faktura to be the single most important quality of an object of art as a constructed object: it was the evidence of its having been made. He applied the term to poetic writing as well as the visual arts; in both cases faktura offered a visual demonstration of the properties inherent in a material or construction: “The whole effort of a poet and a painter is aimed first and foremost at creating a continuous and thoroughly palpable object, an object with a faktura.” The term faktura remained a fluid concept during the 1910s, its essential qualities being further defined and developed by members of the avant-garde from 1913 well into the mid-1920s. While faktura, as initially used by members of the early Russian avant-garde, was characterized by the use of natural materials and a holistic–metaphysical approach to art, it was later adapted by the Constructivists to conform to a strictly materialist ideology and utilitarian orientation in artistic production.