Page last updated at 10:54 GMT, Monday, 24 July 2006 11:54 UK

Artist's dream for maze of colour

Maurice Agis inside Dreamspace
Artist Maurice Agis created the first Dreamspace in 1996

The deaths of two women on an inflatable sculpture are in horrific contrast to artist Maurice Agis' vision for a maze of colour and sound.

The first version of Dreamspace was created in 1996 to blend "space, movement, colour and sound".

Made from thin sheets of PVC and configured into 115 identical cubicles, Dreamspace debuted in Copenhagen.

Since 1996 its subsequent incarnations have successfully and safely toured the UK, Spain and Italy.

Visitors remove their shoes, don capes and wander around inflated walkways to specially-composed music and sounds.

Agis was born in London in 1931, and taught in the UK and Holland, before turning to art full-time.

His works have won acclaim worldwide, with successful exhibits and commissions in the United States, Australia and Holland.

The Dreamspace project evolved as far back as the 1960s, from collaborations Agis developed with fellow artists, exploring abstract walk through spaces.

Inside Dreamspace
Visitors wear capes and wander inside the inflatable sculpture

Agis has tried to make works "three-directional" and, where possible, involve human movement and interactivity.

In the 1960s he formed a partnership with fellow artist Peter Jones and for the next 12 years they worked to create artworks which would eventually evolve into Dreamspace.

According to Agis's own website: "They sought to create spaces whose function was aesthetic and the stimulation of the senses in the viewer, providing the public with a release from the chaos and fragmentation of the senses in daily urban life."

The pair created a forerunner of Dreamspace - called Spaceplace - in 1967, which explored the relationship between simple lineal and rectangular asymmetric elements and human beings.

Thirty years on, Dreamspace is transported in a container lorry, with the massive air-filled maze standing 5m high when fully inflated by industrial-sized blowers.

It is tethered to the ground with guy ropes and dozens of pegs which are hammered into the ground.

Dreamspace received 60,000 from the Arts Council for its current UK tour, which has already taken in Liverpool and was due to travel to London after Chester-le-Street.

The artwork is co-owned by Maurice Agis and Liverpool-based production company Brouhaha International, for which the artist's son Giles works as executive director.

Entrance money paid by visitors to experience Dreamspace is used to offset installation and running costs and was factored in as part of an Arts Council funding bid.



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