Holon Institute of Technology, Israel
Tsion Avital is perhaps the most original and revolutionary thinker in the field of philosophy of art today. Even at the start in his Master’s thesis (1970) and his doctorate (1974) he claimed that modern art is not a new paradigm in art, but the debris of figurative art and thus is not a substitute for it. He claimed that over tens of thousands of years figurative art contained two simultaneous layers: a revealed layer which is content related and semantic, which we call figurative art, and a hidden layer which is structural, and whose principal component is the hierarchic structure of every figurative painting without exception. In order to create a new paradigm for art, he suggested turning around and creating an artistic paradigm that would be based on representation of the structural characteristics of the mind, and neglecting the semantic layer which in any case has been exhausted. In the 1970’s modern art was at its peak and so there was no chance for a new paradigm of art, just as there is no point in proposing medication to a sick person who does not realize he is sick. At the same time there was no theory in aesthetics that could clearly explain the differences between art and non-art, and so Avital was obliged to create it. After about twenty years of searching he discovered the Mindprints theory – his conjecture as to the most basic organizational structures of the mind. He has presented this theory in a number of articles, in lectures at conferences and primarily in his book – Art versus nonart: Art out of mind (Cambridge University Press, 2003).