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What is the standard translation of "objet trouvé" or "found object" into Chinese? I am looking for an authoritative translation based on some Chinese reference work in art history or used by a famous Chinese art historian. On the other hand, it should be understandable what is meant by the average Chinese person. Unfortunately, the linked Wikipedia page has no Chinese version. Usually, I proceed through the multi-language Wikipedia pages to translate specific terminology.

In my writing, I up to now used the term 发现物体, but I noticed that Chinese native speakers don't understand what is meant by this or they understand it wrongly. Usually, they think I am speaking randomly about an art object which is missing the characteristic nuance of "objet trouvé".

Thank you a lot for sharing your insight!

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    Average Chinese don't know what 发现物体 means in this context is because it is an artist's lingo. I am an artist so I can understand it refers to "random unconventional art material". In layman's terms "非常规艺术材料" and art pieces created with found objects is generally called 'modern art' (現代藝術) or "recycled material art piece" (再生材料艺术品) by a layman. I think "再生材料" is a good translation, in this context, the material is not recycled to make commercial product but art pieces
    – Tang Ho
    Feb 8 at 17:38
  • Thank you for your suggestions @TangHo! The translations are really good to cover some types of "objet trouvé". But the aspect of choosing a curious object (for example on a flea market - which might be a toy or a craftsman's work) and present it as art is not directly covered. The choice and the discovery of the object is the merit of the artist in this case. Besides this, you can definitely make your comment an answer. I really like the term 再生 which should be translated as revived. So, it is a revived art piece.
    – Christoph
    Feb 8 at 18:12

4 Answers 4

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This is from my dictionary:

Object trouve - [法] (偶然发现并被认为具有艺术价值的)天然艺术品

In your writing, you may say: "偶然(無意間)發現的天然艺术品". Depending on the context, "的" can be replaced by "了" or eliminated to make better sense.

Note, the phrase 发现物体 means "discover object" is not understandable, because it lacks "when, what, and an article". However, the phrase "发现的(了)一個物品" may fit your need and is perfectly understandable.

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Average Chinese don't know what 发现物体 means in this context is because it is an artist's lingo.

I am an artist so I can understand it refers to "random unconventional art material". In layman's terms "非常规艺术材料" and art pieces created with found objects is generally called 'modern art' (現代藝術) or "recycled material art piece" (再生材料艺术品) by a layman.

I think "再生材料" is a good translation, in this context, the material is not recycled to make commercial products but art pieces

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"objet trouvé" might sound cool, but it's really a collage.

Summary of Collage: A common technique practiced by decorators, advertising agencies, and hobbyists alike, collage upended the fine-art world when Cubists Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso incorporated bits of newspaper and printed wallpaper into their paintings, subverting traditional definitions of what is important art. Combining painting, real-world objects, images, and ephemera into a single work, collage directly questions the tendency to separate fine art from everyday objects, the delineations between so-called high and low culture, and the status of the artist.

Adopted by subsequent artists, collage became a dominant technique in the Dada, Surrealist, Pop Art, and Neo-Dada movements, each using the technique to explore different subject matters. Because collage often incorporates mass-produced images, the practice is often inseparable from its historical and political context, making it a mode of powerful social commentary. Contemporary artists continue to explore the richness of collage in their efforts to question assumptions, biases, and pressing political crises.

collage: 拼贴法

(For example an unmade bed, with dirty underwear and condoms lying around it, was displayed at the Tate, I believe.)

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