Inaugurated on May 29, 1995, the installation artwork Resistenza e Liberazione by Jannis Kounellis was part of Italy’s 50th anniversary commemorating its liberation from the fascist regime, which was first declared a national holiday on April 25, 1946. Located in the New Courtyard of Palazzo Bo, the University of Padua commissioned the art installation in 1994 to bring recognition of the heroism of those who fought in the Italian Partisan Resistance. A small plaque that reads, “to the civic devotion and the actions of Concetto Marchesi, Egidio Meneghetti, and Ezio Franceschini (University of Padua professors), as well as those of the University who knew how to unite different ideologies and cultures in the concerted struggle of the people fighting to regain freedom for Italy.”
Thanks to the Alberto Peruzzo Foundation, the installation artwork of Jannis Kounellis has been the subject of a careful and uncommon method of restoration in 2021. The artist intended to allow the work to deteriorate with a purpose and the natural phenomena that he foresaw affecting its aesthetics. Carried out with assistance from Archivio Kounellis, the restoration method included cleaning and strengthening that guaranteed its structural integrity and continued historical and symbolic value over time.
The installation is a highly symbolic work in line with the University’s traditions, which is 1945, was awarded the Italian Gold Medal for Military Valour for its role in the Resistance. According to the artist, the site-specific installation in Palazzo Bo, the heart of the University of Padua, represented an important stage in his career. Kounellis rarely had the chance to create a work of public use in such a large dimension, and at the same time, of great social value. His commemorative work quickly provoked heated debate by the community due to its unique aesthetic nature. Over time, initial doubts came to pass, and today it is a symbol of precious value linked to the history of the University and the city of Padua.