My dad was an airline pilot and, during his training, his instructor told him that, in absolutely ideal conditions, (in practice obviously impossible) that the actual material composing the wing surface was not important, as long as the air pressure over the wing was kept perfectly, absolutely even, along it's length and that the air velocity was kept absolutely constant, .
So please think of this as a thought experiment, or performed in a wind tunnel instead of real conditions.
Ignore all the functions a modern commercial aircraft wing needs a large main spar for, carrying fuel, taking the weight of the engine, acting as a support for control surfaces , acceleration during the take off run, and so on.
If it did not need inherent strength to do all the above, and the airflow was perfect, absolutely constant, would a paper wing surface generate the lift required?
I do appreciate that the slightest degree of pressure difference not connected with actual lift generation across the wing would cause the wing to collapse, and that drag vortices at the wing tips would have to be taken as negligible, but, as a total thought experiment alone, would it work?
EDIT I think the point the instructor was trying to make was that given the above conditions, that any skin material would generate exactly the same amount of lift and I have a feeling he was right, although in real life you obviously need the strength of modern wings. END EDIT