Reenactment as Reconstruction: an excursion across the Mer de Glace

Selected images


On July 20, 1872, Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc completed an excursion from the refuge at Montenvers, across the Mer de Glace glacier, to an observation point at the base of the Tacul. The images he recorded on this excursion became the basis of several illustrations in his treatise, Le Massif du Mont Blanc, étude sur sa constitution géodésique et géologique sur ses transformations et sur l'état ancien et moderne de ses glaciers, as well as his didactic sketches of the crystalline system of Mont Blanc.

On September 12, 2019, this formative excursion was reconstructed through re-enactment. Since Viollet-le-Duc’s excursion in 1872, the original refuge has been shuttered and replaced with a larger refuge, constructed adjacent to it. These images document the surface of the glacier, the texture, scale and movement of the ice at the base of the Tacul, and its transformation since the architect's original excursion.