By Nicolas Delambre.

"I live in Paris, and I must admit this city is the perfect place to meet fascinating new artists. However nothing could have prepared me for this. Artist Nuno Roque is not your average up and coming star. He's chic and absurd, childish, but strangely sexy. Although it seems obvious that he's playing a character 100% of the time (yes, his moustache is fake, but you kind of forget it), his (real) life story is fascinating to say the least. But what do we really know about the person behind the personnage?

Nuno Roque is a young multidisciplinary artist working with music, film, sculpture, photography, collage, theatre, dance, mime and fashion. Not the sort of person that easily lends himself to classification.

Born in Portugal, Roque made his stage début at the illustrious Porto Coliseum at the age of 3, where he was invited to sing on the Portuguese national radio. For 10 years, he accumulated awards in musical competitions, recorded his first album, and participated in numerous solo tours in some of Portugal's biggest venues, building a successful solo career as a pop child singer.

'My childhoodwas a drag show'


'My childhood was a drag show'


At 14, Roque made his theatre debut, when he joined the cast of a Brecht play, produced by Porto's National Theatre. He got permission to skip high school and was accepted in one of the most prestigious Portuguese art schools, the Academia Contemporânea do Espectàculo - Escola de Artes , where he decided to pursue theatre, film and music studies. He graduated at 17, and went on to perform in high-profile stage productions of Molière, Moises Kaufman and others.

In 2005, he rebelled and left his homeland. After travelling around the world, he moved to Brazil to attend the film course at Casa das Artes de Laranjeiras (as a student of Oscar® nominee Fabio Barreto and theatre titan Augusto Boal in Rio de Janeiro). Later, he arrived in Paris to join the legendary Ecole Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq (notable alumni : Geoffrey Rush, Julie Taymor, Isla Fisher... ) where he stayed for 2 years training with artists from over 30 countries, studying ancient theatre styles. He completed his studies in stage directing, mime, drama and movement in 2008.

He has worked as a singer, actor, mime and stage designer in opera, dance and theatre productions in some of Europe’s leading cultural institutions, in a series of collaborations with internationally renowned singers, conductors, composers, stage directors, designers, visual artists, choreographers and dancers.

'I had artistic classical training, and when you learn the classics for so many years, you might gain the audacity, power and confidence to subvert everything. I am like the original buffoons. I love the rules because I can break them.'


As a fine artist, he can't hide his classical roots, and often uses themes and techniques from classical art in order to get his point across. Nuno Roque has always been attracted to transgression and loves mixing disciplines. Even when performing in someone else's stage production, he has the ability to play around and bring a unique vision to his performance. It's the kind of charisma that makes us love the actor and almost forget about the character.

His visionary artworks celebrate his youth, audacity, and display an exquisite attention to detail. Frequently morbid, Nuno Roque's dark humour sets his work above the usual lightness of other artists from his generation. He has the ability to exceed the rules of good conduct, in each artistic discipline he decides to explore. For Nuno Roque, the idea comes first, and each idea must find the right medium. Whether sculpture, film, photograph, collage or a song... his capacity to express himself in a multimedia way and have the different worlds accept and praise his work is quite unusual.

In the spirit of satire, subversion and surrealism, Roque playfully blends disciplines into his work. Nothing is sacred for Nuno Roque, no subject is forbidden. Politically incorrect, willingly iconoclastic and, pulsing of social messages, he identifies the vulnerable aspects of reality, and the theatre in them. A theatre where he always plays the main role. Because Nuno Roque is above all playing the part of the fool. While bold and irreverent in its iconography, the work is also deadly serious in its scathing critique of authority and the abuse of power, revealing a refined sense of the paradoxes of transgression.

For a while now, we have been used to specialized artists, but Roque jumps from medium to medium and always seems to be doing something we weren't expecting him to do. His Paris based production studio, La Mafia Dell'Arte, with its expert technicians and craftspeople, helps him along the way. But now in his 20's, most of his life has been dedicated to spectacle, and his artworks always seem to be connected between themselves in one way or another (we constantly see his works making cameos in his other works). He consistently plays with pop culture and its obsession with images (which might be compared to idolatry). Nuno Roque seems to dislike idols. He tries to blur the lines between reality and fiction, to tell us that they're not that different after all.

'I'm a Baroque person. There's even my name in the word Baroque. But more than Baroque, I'm a Rococo person. I don't draw straight lines.'


Since 2013, and for some mysterious reason, he has adopted his theatrical moustache and would never be seen again without it. Nuno Roque is playing with his own identity, bringing his love of mockery to his daily (public) life and work. This fictionalized performative version of himself is usually the subject of his pieces.

His works and performances can be hilarious, disturbing, bizarre but never flat-out incomprehensible. With the advent of new media and forms of communication and continuous streams of information, Roque embodies the return of the polymath, an artist for the 21st century who has sought to blend tradition with modernity, in a Gesamtkunstwerk kind of way.

Following a string of successful débuts, he's quickly establishing himself as one of his generation's most promising and exciting artists. Meet the boy who's giving a new meaning to what the French call artiste complet ('the complete artist'). Now, as his notoriety rises, I might not know what his next step will be, but one thing is for sure: we will hear about it”.