"Eight in Bed" developed out of another composition with seven figures in a bed. That imagery dealt with a childhood memory of times when the artist and her two siblings, along with two cousins who lived with them, would join her parents in bed. According to Bourgeois's assistant, Jerry Gorovoy, there was no specific symbolic meaning to the addition of thie eighth (and in some studies, ninth) figure; it was simply part of her further experimentation with the composition.
The photocopy studies for this composition indicate that it derived from the Untitled composition, plate 5, from the illustrated book "Metamorfosis" (seen below in Related Works in the Catalogue). The two compositions could have been catalogued as Versions in one Evolving Composition Diagram. They were catalogued separately because Untitled, plate 5, is from an illustrated book, making it difficult to present the two compositions as one.
According to the artist's assistant, Jerry Gorovoy, the subject of beds stems not only from their symbolic resonance for Bourgeois but also from her interest in their geometric and architectural forms. The bed motif is found in Bourgeois's drawings, sculptures, and installations, as well as in her prints (see Related Works in Other Mediums).
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