Wieslaw Smetek, born in 1955 in Poland, has been illustrating for the big names among the publishing houses for over twenty years now. He gives their magazines a face, makes them instantly recognizable at the kiosk - and he does it with witty and impudent, but always intelligent allusions. He shows former Federal Chancellor Schröder as a drenched and bedraggled poodle looking very woebegone, or Chancellor Merkel as a mother hen gathering her charges under her wings, or the globe as a beach ball with water running out of it.
It is first and foremost his ideas for images commenting on the big themes of our time which really hit the mark, however: Eve seduces Adam - not with an apple, but with the Apple logo, a YouTube film shows Moses smashing - no, not the tablets of the Law, but his laptop - or a geisha is lost in admiration, not of a butterfly, but the yellow-and-black atomic warning emblem.
As photography gradually conquered the media during the course of the 20th century, the general view for a long time was that illustrations had had their day. But far from it: they are celebrating a comeback on front pages, in fashion magazines or the zeitgeist brochures.
Wieslaw Smetek is one of the illustrators whose work is most often to be seen on the covers of Zeit, Stern and Spiegel. He finds fitting images which are at the same time surprising, original and yet understandable for everyone.