Brilliant Absence: Pursuing the Kingfisher in the Work of Hans Waanders

Research output: Book/ReportBook


On an October day in 1982 the Dutch artist Hans Waanders witnessed a kingfisher flying across a small pond near the river Maas. This singular moment prompted an extended quest for the elusive bird that persisted for the remaining nineteen years of his life. Waanders’ pursuit of the kingfisher became an expansive endeavour that both adopted and subverted methods of archiving, classification, mapping, and etymology. In a series of thematic essays, Ross Hair examines Waanders’ work in close detail—from the commonality of the kingfisher, to its broader context in art and literature, and the species’ associations with colour and reverie, and time and space.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAxminster, Devon
Number of pages160
ISBN (Print)978 1 910010 20 4
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2019
EventArchiefreeks: Hans Waanders (1951-2001), 20 jaar in gedachten - Art Book, Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 1 Oct 202130 Oct 2021


  • artists' books
  • ornithology
  • taxonomy
  • visual art
  • small press publishing

Cite this