Inked drawings, concise texts - in the meta bene cartoons, for once, animals ask the question of meaning. As in real life, humor is the only salvation.
By Holger Moos
Robin Thiesmeyer is a German cartoonist, illustrator and author. He has been working under the pseudonym meta bene since 2013 and became known through social media. His extremely minimalist drawings, which resemble Japanese ink painting, are now also appearing in the weekly newspaper DIE ZEIT and on Zeit online.
After a first collection of his cartoons was published in 2013 under the title Es gibt mehr Sterne als Idioten (There are more stars than idiots), he has now published two new volumes of his ink works, Gehirn waschen und ab ins Bett (Wash your brains and go to bed) and Dieses Jahr einfach mal hemmungslos altern (This year, just age without restraint).
In his drawings, which are sometimes reminiscent of cave paintings, he mainly depicts pensive to melancholy animals that pose the big questions about the meaning of life or utter general aphorisms that are ironically broken.
As minimalistic as the drawings are, as concise and pointed are the texts. A penguin, for example, searches for a word as if it were solving a crossword puzzle: “Structurally weak region with one letter.” In a small speech bubble on the right below is the devastating answer - it is “I”.
Leafing through the little book is an entertaining pleasure that you should definitely indulge in - true to the motto of an older bird who teaches its younger conspecifics sitting on a long branch: "Before you fly, first learn to enjoy the view."
Oldenburg: Lappan, 2020. 80 p.
meta bene: Dieses Jahr einfach mal hemmungslos altern
Oldenburg: Lappan, 2021. 64 p.