Cataloguing for StArt Up: Top Arts 2015  is a unique task and we are fortunate to have the opportunity to examine every work of art in advance of the exhibition opening. This is quite a rare opportunity and the experience is enriched by having access to the portfolios that accompany the finished pieces.

Our task is challenging. We have just a couple of days to do our work and cataloguing requires attention to detail. Our job is to collect information about each artist and artwork so that it can be used in support of the exhibition and associated publications both in print and online.

The first thing we noticed about the submissions selected for Top Arts was that the most extraordinary amount of preparatory effort goes into producing each work. The portfolios comprehensively document the evolution of the art and were invaluable in assisting us to understand the finished works and to recognise some of the more complicated media. They also revealed many layers of research and experimentation – ideas tried and tested, abandoned, revived, renewed and expanded.

Cataloguers often get to see art behind the scenes in a gallery context but cataloguing for StArt Up: Top Arts allowed us to peek inside the creative process behind the finished works.

StArt Up: Top Arts opens at NGV Australia on 19 Mar.