05/02/2013 06:50 GMT | Updated 05/02/2013 08:37 GMT

Sleep Of The Beloved: Paul Schneggenburger's Images Of Couples' Movements During Night (PICTURES)

What started out as an academic art project has developed into a series of beautiful images that capture how couples move during their slumber hours.

An exhibition called The Sleep of the Beloved, which opened at Anzenberger Gallery in Vienna this week, features photographs by artist Paul Schneggenburger that expose the dynamic interaction of sleeping partners.

For this on-going project, the artist set up a 'bedroom' within his live-in studio where the movements of couples were captured during a six-hour exposure.

Scroll down for more pictures

According to the gallery's website, Schneggenburger loaded the film, lit the candles, and set up the stage. He then turned the camera on from the living room and his self-constructed “timer” turned the camera back off again in the morning.

Schneggenburger says: "I am at no time of the exposure inside the room myself. I just light the candles, set up the stage."

"If you want a picture of “Your beloved sleep”, you can take part!"

The resulting images reveal a wide variance in physical intimacy, from two individuals remaining largely self-contained to an intertwined pairs of lovers who move through poses of unconscious closeness.

Last year, the Huffington Post US reported on a Japanese mother who also enjoyed making interesting art via sleep.

Mami Koide, a mom and cartoonist from Tokyo, gets creative when her daughter falls asleep and uses everyday items -- clothes, vegetables, hangers -- to stage photographs of what she thinks her infant is dreaming about.

Photo gallery The Sleep Of The Beloved Exhibition See Gallery