Peter Miles Studio


Tissue Paper

In the 1840s, the linen and cotton pulp that had since the 6th century been the primary component of paper was replaced, by Canadian and German entrepeneurs, by cheaper wood pulp. Wood pulp is composed primarily of the polymers cellulose—the most common organic material on earth—and lignin. Cellulose is stable and tidy, reflective of all bandwidths of light and so appearing pristine white. Lignin is earthier, the structural glue that holds trees up. When it has been bleached, it oxidizes over time, a slow burn that returns it to its yellowy-brown state, the yellow of yesterday’s newspapers. All of paper is an allegory of clean frailty versus dirty strength. On this piece of rectangular tissue the process of natural decay has been faked by a pristine inked image of corruption.