Where on show on show in

galleries C, D & E

on the first floor

Olafur Eliasson

Notion motion

18 June - 18 September 2016

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About ‘Notion motion’

From 18 June to 18 September this year, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen is showing the installation ‘Notion motion’ (2005) by the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Inspired by the laws of nature, particularly the reflection of light on water, he created the installation ‘Notion motion’ especially for the 1500m2 Bodon Gallery.

With the minimum of means but on a grand scale Eliasson has created a captivating presentation in which the viewer is immersed in the space. ‘Notion motion’ continues Eliasson's exploration of vibrations and wave patterns triggered by the viewers of his artworks. The installation consists of three interconnected situations around a central wall that explore the interaction between light and water. The first two situations are created by a wooden walkway running the length of the space, surrounded by a water basin that continues underneath the construction. Raised planks in the walkway function as wave activators, generating ripples in the water when visitors step on them. These are projected onto the surrounding walls, visualizing the movement of the visitors around the gallery space. The third situation focuses on ripples in the pool that are created by a sponge attached to a string, which drops into the pool at regular intervals.

The impressive installation contains 20,562 litres of water, three lamps and is made of 800 duckboard elements.

Seated or standing, as a visitor you are made aware of your own presence and your active role in the artwork. Eliasson’s work stimulates the senses and plays with viewers’ perceptions, challenging and testing them in the installation. Observation is key in the installation; to Eliasson this is more than a question of passively recording static images; it is about movement and active involvement. Olafur Eliasson’s extensive oeuvre is inspired by nature. He has previously incorporated rainbows, sunsets, waterfalls, scent walls and mist in his installations.

Light and water

For Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Eliasson has developed a large installation in which waves of light are visualized in a monumental way by a continuous interplay between light and water.

Eliasson plays with the concept that a conscious perception carries within it the potential for change. Many of his installations are based on the question: Where in society can we still use our senses to define our surroundings, instead of just being defined by them? The fact that, in Eliasson’s work, a direct relationship emerges between the individual / the visitor and his surroundings, means that the former becomes conscious of the possibilities for changing those surroundings. The surroundings do not play a central part, the individual does.

Olafur Eliasson, ‘Notion motion’, 2005. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2005. Photo: Hans Wilschut
Olafur Eliasson, ‘Notion motion’, 2005. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2005. Photo: Jens Ziehe
Olafur Eliasson, ‘Notion motion’, 2005. Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, 2005. Photo: Hans Wilschut

‘Physical involvement is a thought process too, just as the thought process is related to the physical’

Olafur Eliasson

From the collection of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen

‘Notion motion’ is one in a series of unforgettable installations made especially for Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Bodon Gallery. It follows Ernesto Neto’s‘Celula Nave’ and Carsten Höller’s ‘Divided Divided’.

It is not the first time that ‘Notion motion’ has been shown. It is part of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s permanent collection and was gifted to the museum in 2005 by the Han Nefkens Foundation, set up by the writer and collector, Han Nefkens. This summer everyone will get their first chance – or perhaps another chance – to be immersed in this fantastic installation.

About Olafur Eliasson

Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (born 1967) works in a wide range of media, including installation, painting, sculpture, photography, and film. His work navigates between natural phenomena and technology and makes the viewer aware of his or her perception.

Read the full biography
Portrait of Olafur Eliasson by Thilo Frank

View career of Olafur Eliasson


This summer the museum is organizing various activities for visitors young and old. Visit the exhibition during the festive opening at 18 June, follow a lecture or workshop. Or research the laws of nature with the whole family in the special Experiment lab.

18 June
2 pm - 5 pm
Festive opening summer programme

The festive opening on Saturday 18 June include performances of RoosWiesBlauw and the Hart Choir, Maarten Bel, Pink Pony Express, Melle Smets, Weronika Zielinska and a performance by the Rotterdam-based ‘Flexible band’ COOLHAVEN.

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More info
18 June until
18 September
Experiment lab

How artist Olafur Eliasson makes his gigantic work of art ‘Notion motion’ is a mystery. He just uses light and water. Emerge yourself in the exhibition and discover all about light, water and reflection by doing all sorts of exciting experiments. (In Dutch only)

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More info
every first
Sunday of
the month
Boijmans Club Workshop

By joining one of the guided tours and creative workshops children get to learn more about an exhibition, the artists or the studio practice of an artist. Workshops are being organized for children aged 5 to 10 years and aged 11 to 14 years. (In Dutch only)

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Subscribe ages 5 to 10 year

Subscribe ages 11 to 14 year
wednesday 7
12:30-1:00 pm
Boijmans Backstage

Every first Wednesday of the month the museum offers an exclusive look behind the scenes. What does it take to install the new exhibition ‘Olafur Eliasson – Notion motion’? (In Dutch only)

More info?

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Please do take pictures #notionmotion, #olafureliasson or #olafurinboijmans

Post a photo of the exhibition on Instagram and use the hashtag #notionmotion, #olafureliasson or #olafurinboijmans.

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Subscribe to the digital newsletter and stay tuned on ‘Olafur Eliasson – Notion motion’ and the other exhibitions in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.


Buy your tickets now

Subscribe to the digital newsletter and stay tuned on ‘Olafur Eliasson – Notion motion’ and the other exhibitions in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.

Buy your tickets

Contemporary Art in Boijmans

The focus of the many new exhibitions at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen this summer is the work of international and Rotterdam-based artists, including the ‘Project Rotterdam’ group presentation, the ninth edition of the Sensory Spaces series with Beni Bischof, an installation by Diederik Klomberg, a triptych by James Lee Byars, and a presentation by Jan van de Pavert.